The Celtics lost to the Pistons last night, 116-103, a frustrating game in which Boston was unable to stop Detroit’s barrage of field goals. It didn’t help that Jayson Tatum sat out for load manag … uhh … with tendinitis of the knee, but the visitors were even more shorthanded, without starters Blake Griffin, Reggie Jackson and Luke Kennard. Here’s a closer look at what happened.
1. Detroit was out of the box early
The Pistons opened the game by making their first five shots. Meanwhile, the Celtics made just one of their first six attempts. Although Boston went on to shoot 49.4% over the 48 minutes, it was nowhere near enough to match Detroit’s 60.3%. Despite leading 59-57 at halftime, the Celtics were battling uphill almost the entire game (their biggest lead was only 4 points). And after Detroit went ahead with 5:09 remaining in the third quarter, Boston never led again.
The top five Pistons scorers last night were Sekou Doumbouya (24), Markieff (“The Bad Twin”) Morris (23), Derrick Rose (22), Svi Mykhailiuk (21) and Andre Drummond (13). Their combined shot chart was absurd.
2. Doumbouya and Mykhailiuk
Most Celtics fans in the Garden crowd were probably wondering, who the heck are those guys? Well, those guys are both averaging about 8 points per game for the Pistons, and both tallied their career highs last night while making probably the two biggest shots of the game.
Doumbouya, a rookie, shot 10-of-13 and set the tone on Detroit’s first possession. Boston had knocked the ball out of bounds with 2.8 seconds on the shot clock, but on the inbounds pass Doumbouya’s catch-and-shoot attempt was all net from inches inside the three-point arc. In hindsight, it was a bad omen for the Cs.
Mykhailiuk, in his second year, made 5-of-8 threes, including the back-breaker: a 61-foot buzzer-beater at the end of the third quarter. That inspired the Pistons to open the fourth with a 17-5 burst that put the game out of reach.
To put this performance into context, imagine Romeo Langford and Semi Ojeleye had a night like this. (That’s right, you can’t imagine it.)
3. Rose vs. Kemba
This is absolutely not to blame Kemba Walker for the loss, but he was significantly outplayed by Rose. The former league MVP made all 11 of his two-pointers while Kemba took 11 threes and missed nine of them. That hurt because of Tatum’s absence. Still, we’re better off with Kemba than someone else we know.
4. Bench woes
What also hurt was pretty much no contribution from the second unit. Detroit’s bench outscored the Cs’ subs 47-23. Brad Wanamaker stood alone with 9 points and 4 assists. Otherwise, Enes Kanter, who’s been hot lately, had just 6 points and 3 rebounds. Grant Williams was scoreless in 16 minutes. Romeo looked comfortable during the first half, scoring a hoop and drawing a charge on Drummond, but Semi got the second-half minutes and did nothing except commit a violation trying to inbound after a Detroit basket.
5. Jaylen Brown’s free throws (and thumb)
Along with Gordon Hayward (25 points), Jaylen did his best to make up for Tatum’s missing production. JB scored 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Still, it’s a head-scratcher that Brown could make 4 of his 8 three-pointers, yet go 0-for-5 from the free throw line.
Jaylen has made great progress on his FTs this season, raising his percentage from 65.8% to 75.6%. He was 9-of-9 in his previous game and had made 26 of his last 28. Have to hope this is just one bad game.
JB also suffered a sprained thumb last night and it’s uncertain if he can play tonight in Milwaukee.