It’s difficult to imagine winning a blowout when your leading scorer manages only 2 points, but that’s where we are after the Celtics took care of the Pistons last night, 114-93. Here’s a closer look at some of the reasons.
1. Grant Williams
The rookie from Tennessee was on the court for almost 30 minutes – double his usual playing time – and he made the most of it, scoring a career-high 18 points on 8-of-10 from the field. Grant had a highlight-reel putback dunk and also made 2-of-3 from behind the arc. The guy who started his career 0-for-25 from deep has now hit 4 of his last 7 attempts.
Grant has played 10 or more minutes 17 times so far. The Celtics are 15-2 in those games. They are 4-5 in the games Grant played under 10 minutes. He really is the 6-foot-6 version of Marcus Smart.
2. The bench
On a team where four of the normal starters average a combined 80 or so points per game, the second unit is not expected to provide too much scoring punch. And they usually don’t. But last night, Boston’s bench outscored their Detroit counterparts by 49-43.
Besides Grant’s 18 as mentioned above, Enes Kanter added 8 points and won the rebounding battle with Andre Drummond (see thought no. 3). Six points apiece were scored by solid Brad Wanamaker, explosive Javonte Green and – wait, what? – Romeo Langford.
Romeo was finally healthy enough to go 18 minutes in his first significant playing time. He looked smooth on offense and contributed 2 steals on defense. His 3 buckets were the first of what we hope will be a long career in Boston, not Maine.
Oh yeah, Tacko Fall played too.
3. Checking Drummond
The Pistons’ big center has long been a matchup nightmare for the Celtics. Drummond came in averaging roughly 18 points and a league-high 17 rebounds this season – numbers he had achieved 10 times in the past vs. Boston, per Basketball Reference. But last night, his 12 and 11 in 31 minutes didn’t come close to that.
Daniel Theis and Kanter guarded Drummond most of the night and kept him in check. Theis had 4 blocks (2 of them on Drummond) in 22 minutes, and Kanter was simply more aggressive in collecting 18 boards (5 offensive). It seemed like we didn’t hear Drummond’s name very often, and that was great news for the Cs.
4. Kemba’s futility and perseverance
A bad night can happen to the best of them. Kemba couldn’t get out of his own way, missing all 6 shots he attempted and committing 7 turnovers. Some of his bad passes were really bad, ending up several rows deep in the expensive seats.
But the veteran point guard delivered a season-high 11 assists and kept his spirits up.
5. Hollywood nights
The new Star Wars film opened in theaters yesterday, which gave content producers some ideas.
Ummm … okay, Timelord.