It was a game that both teams needed to have. The Boston Celtics, fresh off a tough Friday night overtime loss to the Chicago Bulls, were in the midst of a two-game losing streak while still holding onto the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Detroit Pistons were still battling a reset time zone change from their London trip, and were looking to shake off a two-game losing streak as they looked to get back into the playoff conversation. (The Pistons were six wins worse than Boston before the game) A win for Boston would've meant distancing themselves from a team that could knock them out of playoff contention down the road. A win for the Pistons meant a game gained and one step closer to owning a potential tiebreaker scenario.
The Pistons took control of the game early, going up by as much as 18 points in the second quarter. Boston would punch back though, tying the game before the end of the first half. Still, at the end of the night there was just too much Pistons offense, not to mention a strong defensive effort that had Boston posting two sub-20-point quarters, as Detroit won the game 103-88.
Brandon Knight bounced back in a big way. Non-existent in the Pistons game in London, Brandon Knight made it his mission on Sunday night to not only stay aggressive on offense but to set a contagious tone for the rest of the team as well. A driving slam dunk, Knight's first points of the game, capped a Pistons 7-0 run to start the game and let everyone at Palace know that they'd be seeing a different Brandon Knight. Knight ended the first half with 12 points, and finished the game with 15 points including to two three-pointers, five assists, and six rebounds.
Besides Brandon Knight, five other Pistons scored double-digits. Greg Monroe posted a double-double with 15 points, 11 rebounds. Monroe also showed why he is regarded as one of the league's best passing big men, dishing out five assists on the night. Kyle Singler had 13 points, eight rebounds. Tayshaun Prince had 14 points.
Continuing their strong bench play, Will Bynum and Andre Drummond each made it into the double-digit scoring column. Bynum had 15 points, and five assists including three alley-oop passes to a high-flying Andre Drummond. Drummond posted 16 points, and seven rebounds in only 20 minutes of court time. Drummond had four alley-oop dunks total, including one coming from his backcourt "partner of the future" Greg Monroe. More impressively, as Celtics coach Doc Rivers attempted a "Hack-A-Drummond" tactic in the second half, the 19-year-old rookie kept his composure and went 6-8 from the charity stripe.
In a game that saw the Pistons shoot a higher three-point percentage than the Celtics shot from the field– 47.8 to 39.8 –the phrase "quality win" doesn't quite cut it. The way the Pistons won, with offensive balance, strong offensive possessions and a commitment to the defensive side of the ball, is the type of game the Pistons will need to continue to play if they truly want to take a legitimate stab at the eighth playoff spot in the conference. Sunday night's win moved the Pistons from 11th to 10th in the Eastern Conference standings, but they'll have to quickly re-focus as the team's next six games are against playoff seeded teams and opponents that the Pistons have struggled with all season. (Six-game schedule: Orlando, Chicago, Miami, Orlando, Milwaukee, Indiana)
The Pistons take on the Orlando Magic, a team the Pistons have yet to beat, on Tuesday night at the Palace of Auburn Hills. The game tips-off at 7:30 pm.