Detroit - The Celtics (35-42) were a half game ahead of the Heat as the eighth seed after an overtime win in Toronto on Saturday night. They were looking to avenge a loss from nearly three-weeks ago at the TD Garden. As the playoff push continued, a national audience finally got to witness the scrappy C's get a 113-103 win over the Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills and keep up in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Boston not only picked up an important win on Wednesday, they also eliminated Detroit from playoff contention in the process. Isaiah Thomas led the way with a season-high 34 points and handed out 6 assists. Jae Crowder added 17 points and 6 rebounds, while Brandon Bass chipped in with 16 points in the victory that has the Celtics tied with Brooklyn (after a 114-111 lost to the Hawks) record wise at 36-42 for the seventh seed.
The Pistons officially clinched another losing season (the first of Stan Van Gundy's career) as Reggie Jackson finished with 21 points and 15 assists. Greg Monroe returned after missing 11-games and recorded a double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds. Andre Drummond also put together a double-double with 22 points and 14 rebounds for Detroit who are now 30-48 on the year
The Celtics jumped out to a 30-16 lead after the first 12 minutes which included Isaiah Thomas hitting a three at the buzzer. By halftime the C's were up 55-47 despite a mini Detroit run in the second quarter. The Pistons did cut Boston's lead to three before the C's went on a 19-4 run (13 of the points came from Thomas) to end the third, and the Celtics had a 91-74 lead heading into the fourth.
Detroit never got any closer than eight the rest of the way, and the Celtics won their second in a row as they own the tie-breaker with the Nets for the seventh seed with four-games remaining.
For being the first and only ESPN-televised game of the season for Brad Stevens' team, it turned out to be a good showing. Besides the poor-play in the beginning of the third quarter for the Celtics, where they almost lost their lead, they moved the ball pretty well and play played great defense, forcing the Pistons to turn the ball over 19 times, and limiting them to only 10-trips at the free-throw line. The next six-days will be a huge test if the C's can stay in the postseason hunt.
The Celtics will face LeBron and the Cavs on Friday night in Cleveland in the first of an home-and-home. It is unknown if Bron-Bron will play in these game, seeing as these two-teams could face each other in the first round of the playoffs if the standings remain as is. Tip-off is at 7:30 EST
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