In their first game back from the All-Star break, the Boston Celtics snap a three-game losing streak with a 110-98 win over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night behind Daniel Theis’ career-high 19 points.
Marcus Smart made his return to the floor in the first of a back-to-back after missing 11 games with a serious hand laceration following an incident with a picture frame in late January. Smart finished the game with 12 points (5-9 FG), three rebounds and six assists over 26 minutes on the floor.
Detroit set the tempo right out of the gate, jumping out to an 11-6 lead four minutes in, thanks to knocking down three-of-five shots from deep, plus an 8-0 run.
Center Aron Baynes went to the locker room with left elbow soreness almost three minutes into the first quarter and never returned.
According to head coach Brad Stevens following the game, ‘Baynes will be sore tomorrow after either straining or spraining his elbow and his status hasn’t been determined yet.’
After a series of bad transitions, turnovers and missed baskets, the Celtics fell behind 28-23 heading into the second. Just alone in the first the C’s turned the ball over five times, but ended up finishing the game with 11.
The Celtics started to turn things around early in the second, but more specifically in the final five minutes of the quarter.
Turnovers got the best of the Pistons and the Celtics took full advantage of it. They continued to push the ball up court, with the Pistons missing a stretch of buckets.
With 2:38 to play in the second, the C’s were riding an 11-to-3 run, leading to a 48-42 lead.
The Celtics would go into halftime with a 61-49 lead, while riding a 24-to-10 run.
In the first half, the Celtics shot 50 percent from the field and made 11of-21 from deep. Daniel Theis was leading all C’s scorers with 12 points and six rebounds off the bench.
The Pistons grinded out of a 12-point deficit to pull within four of the Celtics with less than three minutes to play in the third, but that’s as close as they got. Kyrie Irving and C’s made a string of baskets to take an 86-77 lead into the fourth.
At this point Andre Drummond already had a double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds. And Daniel Theis set a career-high 17 points with another 12 minutes to play. He later finished the game with 15 points and 17 rebounds.
During the fourth the score was stuck at 93-77 for more than two minutes and it wasn’t until the Pistons knocked down a field goal to end the scoreless streak.
The Celtics went on another impressive scoring stretch, this time it was a 13-to-2 run, to jump out to a 99-79 lead with 6:01 left to play in the game.
Theis’ new career-high and team-leading 19 points (8-10 FG) and seven rebounds help propel the C’s to 110-98 win over the Pistons.
Tatum on the break ???????????? pic.twitter.com/2njFcn67QO— Boston Celtics (@celtics) February 24, 2018
Rookie Jayson Tatum had himself a night with 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting, including a pair of three-pointers. Irving went onto fill the stat sheet with 18 points, five rebounds and six assists, on 50 percent shooting from the field.
The C’s bench combined for an impressive 65 points with Semi Ojeleye not attempting a single shot through 20 minutes on the floor. But he wasn’t the only one to have a down night on the scoring front. Forward Al Horford finished the game with three points (1-6 FG), five rebounds and four assists, but he made his presence felt on the defensive end, shutting down Blake Griffin.
UP NEXT: The Celtics (41-19) will play the second of back-to-back road games Saturday night, against the New York Knicks (24-36). Catch the call of the game with Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell live on 98.5 The Sports Hub. Pre-game coverage begins at 7:00 p.m., with tip-off set for 7:30 p.m.
— By John ‘The Dude’ Hardiman, 985TheSportsHub.com