Celtics overcome sloppy 2nd half and hold off the Pistons, 104-98

The Bostons Celtics held off a late rally from the Detroit Pistons and leave Motor City with a 104-98 win. Isaiah Thomas led the C's with 33 points, 4 rebounds, and just 1 assist. Al Horford had a tough night shooting the ball (2-11) but managed to pull down 9 boards and tally 5 assists. Terry Rozier was huge off the bench with 14 points on 4 of 5 shooting (3-4 from three) and Marcus Smart served as the closer scoring 9 of his 14 points in the 4th quarter and making some signature game-winning plays down the stretch.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led the Pistons with 18 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists. Andrew Drummond 17 points and 15 rebounds, and Reggie Jackson had 17 points, 6 assists, and 4 boards.

The Celtics came out of the blocks quick with a Horford turnaround from 8 feet and a pair of fast-break baskets to spark timeout from Stan Van Gundy just 1:30 into the game. The Pistons regrouped but the Celtics continued to excel attacking the basket getting 16 of their 27 1st quarter points in the paint, including this whirlwind trip to the basket by Jaylen Brown:

Brown led the Celtics with 7 points in the first quarter and Amir Johnson pulled down 6 rebounds in his first 8 minutes as the Celtics headed into the 2nd with a 27-23 lead.

The C's offense came out stagnant in the 2nd with just 1 basket in the first 4 minutes, but the Celtics then ripped off 10 straight points to re-take the lead in just over a minute of clock time and lead 39-34 with 6:55 in the half.

Detroit called timeout but the C's continued to roll, and kept taking the ball to the basket:

Though the Pistons closed the quarter strong and a three-pointer from Marcus Morris at the buzzer had them trailing just by 4 at the break (54-50). Thomas led the Celtics with 16 points and 3 assists, and the Celtics did a solid job cleaning the glass leading one of the best rebounding teams in the NBA by 1 board (26-25) for the half. Reggie Jackson led Detroit with 15 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds as they heading into halftime.

Detroit celebrated longtime Piston and member of the 2004 championship team Rip Hamilton at halftime by putting his number 32 into the rafters at The Palace:

The Celtics started the 3rd quarter on fire with a 13-2 run to pull ahead by 15, 67-52, but Detroit would answer back. They ripped of a 14-2 run for themselves and cut the Celtic lead to 4 with 4:49 in the 3rd. Sloppy play from the C's during that stretch and they turned the ball over 10 times in the quarter to go along with a poor selection of shots to allow the Pistons back into the game.

Terry Rozier came in to give Thomas a blow and gave he offense a jumpstart by burying a three, then snatching a board on the defensive end and taking it coast-to-coast for a foul at the bucket. They headed into the 4th up 79-74 and Rozier led the Celtics bench with 13 points in the game.

The sloppy play from both teams continued into the 4th, but the Celtics reluctance to continue to take the ball to the basket resulted in a bunch of missed three pointers and off-balance shots and the Pistons capitalized by tying the game at 84 with 6:03 to go. The Celtics shot a meager 2-11 for the first half of the 4th.

The teams traded baskets for the next few minutes and a questionable foul on a Kentavious Caldwell-Pope three-pointer gave the Pistons their first lead since early in the 2nd quarter. Marcus Smart came right back with a putback on the other end but Cladwell-Pope answered again with another three for the Pistons putting them up 96-94 with 2:08 to go.

Reggie Jackson tried an ill advised straightaway three that bricked and led to a Jaylen Brown three with a foul in the corner to give the Celtics the lead again. He missed the ensuing free-throw and who else but Smart snatched it and got fouled giving the Celtics a 4-point lead with just over 37 seconds in the game.

Isaiah only managed to knock down a single shot in the 4th but the Celtics still went to him late to close out the game at the free-throw line and he put away the Pistons.

Photo Credit - Tim Fuller/USA TODAY Sports

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