How good were Detroit's starters last night?

So the Celtics lost by seven to the Pistons last night, but the score could've easily been much uglier. Boston was fortunate to even be that close in a game where they allowed their opponent to shoot 55.2% from the field.

A lot of things happened at TD Garden on Wednesday that rarely happen in this league or to this Celtics franchise. First, the Piston starters played their best basketball of the season as a unit, hitting 44 of their 75 shots (58.7%!!), many of which were certainly no gimmes. All five were so in sync that four of them recorded 20 or more points, and the fifth finished just one point away:

This type of strong and balanced attack by starters is an extremely rare occurrence. The 2007-08 Pelicans and the 2015-16 Pistons are the only other teams in the last 24 seasons to have had all five starting players score at least 19 points in a regulation-length game. Bob Ryan recalls the only times he has witnessed such a thing:

Head coach Stan Van Gundy noted how his squad's offense against the Celtics was the best he's seen this season:

The Celt's usual rebounding woes were still present last night (they got outrebounded 52-33), but that ultimately took a back seat to the greater issue of trying to stop these Piston players from scoring so efficiently. Knowing this, it is amazing that they stayed as close as they did.

Isaiah Thomas' 27 points and Kelly Olynyk's 19 helped, but it was limiting turnovers that kept Boston within striking distance for much of the contest. The last time they lost a game after taking care of the ball as well as they did was 16 years ago:

Sometimes, teams are just gonna go off on you and score uncharacteristically well (i.e. when we played the Nuggets). Although this was one of those nights for the Pistons, it doesn't excuse the Celtics from playing spotty defense yet again.

Follow Erik Johnson on Twitter: @erikjohnson32

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