Pistons 103, Celtics 83 - Celts crushed in Motown as Rondo's streak continues
The back end of back to backs are never easy, but C'mon, that was just ugly. The Celtics went in to Motown feeling good after a thrashing of the Raptors, while the Pistons entered the game at 1-9, the 2nd worst record in the NBA. None of that mattered. Detroit beat the Celtics 103-83 behind an incredibly balanced scoring attack led by Greg Monroe (20 pts, 13 rebs) and Jason Maxiell (15 pts, 6 rebs). The only good thing about this mess was Rajon Rondo extending his 10+ assist streak to 34 games, the 3rd longest such streak in NBA history. It did not look good for #9, as he had just 7 assists with three minutes to go before a late flurry that got him to double digits. The C's were led on offense by Kevin Garnett (15 points in just 20 minutes), Rondo (12 points and 10 assists), and Jared Sullinger (a team high 16 points off the bench).
1st Quarter: The Celtics came out of the gate with good energy, despite being on the back end of a back to back, streaking to a 15-9 lead early on. However after foul trouble forced both Bass and Pierce to the bench, the C's got out of rhythm and the lowly Pistons made a run of their own. Rondo played well with 7 points and 4 dimes in the first 12 minutes, and was robbed of a 5th assist when the Detroit scorekeeper decided not to give him one after a Bass jumper that Rondo had set up. No home town scoring here. C's led 25-23 after one.
2nd Quarter: U-G-L-Y. Only way to describe the second quarter in this one. Celts were outscored 25-18 and the bench was abysmal. Total stats in the first half for the second unit? 4-12 FG, 0-3 3PT FG, 11 points in 52 minutes. Not the pick me up the team was looking for. A Rondo three right before the final buzzer helped chop an 8 point Detroit lead down to 5 at the break. Halftime score, Pistons 48, Celtics 43.
3rd Quarter: The poor play that started in the 2nd quarter, unfortunately did not end there. The C's 3rd quarter effort may have been the worst of the season as the Pistons (yes the same Pistons that entered the game 1-9) outscored the Green 23-14. The Celts shot a woeful 5-14 in the quarter as the Pistons lead grew as large as 18. Rondo's good 1st half (10 pts on 4-4 shooting, 5 assists) was followed by a quiet 3rd (2 pts, 1 assist, 2 turnovers). By the time the dust settled the Pistons led 71-57 heading into the 4th.
4th Quarter: The Celtics tried going super small with Rondo-Barbosa-Terry-Pierce-Sullinger in a last ditch effort to make a run, but it just wasn't happening. The Celtics just could not string enough quality possessions together as the Pistons pulled away. The small line-up was out-rebounded badly and the C's lost the rebounding battle 39-30. To add injury to insult, Paul Pierce walked off to the locker room with two minutes to play, favoring his leg after getting tangled up with a Piston while driving to the rim. Definitely something to watch.
At the end of the day it's only one game, but you can't help but be disappointed at how flat the Celtics were against a team with inferior talent. The C's now sit at 6-5 on the young season, and return home to play the Spurs on Wednesday night at the Garden. Expect them to come out with a lot more energy then. They better.