Sunday, December 16, 2018

Pistons 113, Celtics 104: Kyrie Irving's 26-point performance not enough to extend win streak

The Celtics were the NBA's hottest team entering Saturday night, winners of eight straight before the Detroit Pistons beat them 113-104 at Little Caesars Arena to snap Boston's streak.

Kyrie Irving led the Celtics with 26 points on 11-of-25 shooting to go along with 8 rebounds and 4 assists. Marcus Smart went 5-for-7 from beyond the arc to finish with 21 points and 8 rebounds, while Jayson Tatum added 17 points and also grabbed 8 boards in Boston's first loss of December.

Blake Griffin had a game-high 27 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists to help the Pistons to only their second win this month. Andre Drummond notched a double-double of 19 points, 20 rebounds and Reggie Bullock chipped in 15 points for Detroit, who snapped a six-game skid.

Both teams came out of the gate strong, each shooting well over 60-percent from the floor in the opening quarter and by halftime, the Pistons took a 57-56 advantage into the locker room.

Boston would gain a lead and limit Detroit to only six points within the first three minutes of the third quarter before the Pistons went on a 13-0 run to take a 76-66 lead and never looked back.

The Celtics got within seven to close the period, only to let Detroit go on a 10-1 run, while missing their first seven shots and going scoreless for over seven minutes in the final frame.
"They looked great. They were screening us, they were active, they were alert, they played great," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. "We couldn't match them shot for shot because the way we were guarding, that's what we had to do, and we just couldn't do it. So hats off to them. It's not our best game. That's it."
Despite the Pistons committing  20 turnovers, including eight in the fourth quarter, the Celtics' rally came up short when Andre Drummond blocked Jayson Tatum's dunk attempt with 1:25 remaining that would have cut Detroit's deficit to seven.
"We played a team that came here to play tonight," Marcus Smart said. "They hit a lot of shots and they came out with more energy than we did. They hit us in the face and we wasn't ready."
The Celtics are now 18-11 on the season and will return home to host the Phoenix Suns Wednesday night.

Game Notes:

Boston, who shot 41.5 percent on Saturday night, hadn't beaten an opponent over .500 during their eight-game win streak, while the Pistons, who hit 48.8 percent of their attempts from the floor are now 14-13.

Joel Pavón

Photo used is courtesy of The Associated Press

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