Thursday, February 16, 2023

Celtics 127, Pistons 109: Jayson Tatum returns, erupts for 38 points in bounce back win

The Celtics head into the All-Star break on a high-note after beating the Detroit Pistons 127-109 Wednesday night at TD Garden.

Jayson Tatum returned from a one-game absence against the Milwaukee Bucks, to lead all scorers with 38 points on 15-of-24 from the floor, including 6-of-10 from deep, nine rebounds and seven assists. Malcolm Brogdon added 25 points, six assists off the bench.

Al Horford (seven rebounds) and Derrick White (six assists) each had 11 points respectively, while Marcus Smart -- who missed the last 11 games with an ankle sprain -- chipped in nine points, seven rebounds, six assists and six steals.
"We missed a lot," Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said of Smart's absence. "We missed his joy. He brought a level of joy into the game."
Bojan Bogdanovic finished with 28 points and 12-of-17 shooting, while rookie Jaden Ivey had 17 points. Isaiah Stewart notched 14 points (4-of-6 from 3) and six rebounds for Detroit, who fell to 15-44 on the season.

The Celtics were ahead 66-51 at the half and pushed their lead to 19 points to open the third, before the Pistons cut the deficit down to five (85-80) with 3:13 remaining in the period.

Tatum's 24-point quarter, on six made 3-pointer, gave the C's a 97-89 advantage heading into the final frame.

Boston used a 21-10 run to start the fourth that eventually became a 21-point lead (the largest of the night) after a Brogdon 3-pointer and Tatum dunk with 2:43 left to play, on their way to sweep the season series over the Pistons (4-0) for the first time in over 31 years.

Playing on a second night of a back-to-back (8-1), following a 131-125 overtime loss to the Bucks -- where four starters were out, including Jaylen Brown (facial fracture) -- the Celtics find themselves with the league's best record of 42-17, after winning five of their last six.

Tatum is pleased with how his team sits a full game ahead of the Bucks in the East, as they look to make another run to the NBA Finals after some much needed rest.
"All things considered, everything that we've went through this season as a team with coaching changes and guys getting injured, missing games and being in and out of the lineup," Tatum said in his postgame presser. "Overall, it's been a hell of a start."
The Celtics will face the Indiana Pacers (26-34) next Thursday when they begin a mini three-game road trip.

Game Notes:

Boston was an efficient 53.3% from the field, including 21-of-45 (46.7%) from behind the arc, while the Pistons were 51.2% from the floor and 11-of-29 (37.8%) from long distance. The Celtics out-rebounded Detroit 43-35 and both teams finished with 52 points in the paint each. The C's had 30 assists on 49 baskets and the visiting team dished out 24 dimes on 43 made shots.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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