Theis, Celtics return from All-Star break with 110-98 victory in Detroit
A reinvigorated Boston Celtics team returned from the All-Star break in Detroit to face the Pistons on Friday night and left with a 110-98 victory.
Boston drew first blood, but the Pistons responded with an 11-1 run that finally came to an end with a Jayson Tatum triple. Tatum was a bright spot for the Celtics in a rough quarter on both sides of the ball, scoring 8 points on 3-3 shooting and showing off his two-way abilities.
Boston wasted no time evening the score, as Marcus Smart and Daniel Theis led a Celtics run that erased the team's five-point deficit in three minutes of second quarter action. They proceeded to go on a tear, outscoring Detroit 24-10 in the final 5:41 of the period behind a balanced offensive attack and hyper-efficient shooting from beyond the arc (52.4% in the half) to take a 61-49 halftime lead.
Detroit fought back in the third quarter and closed the gap to four on multiple occasions, but the Celtics' offense remained vigilant and finished the period up nine. Daniel Theis, Greg Monroe, and the rest of Boston's second unit proved vital in maintaining the lead, outscoring Detroit's bench 43-13 through three quarters. Theis reached a career-high 14 points off a pretty bounce pass from Jaylen Brown.
Boston took care of business in the final period and they were able to rest their starters for the end of the game, a luxury they haven't had in a while, as their lead hovered around 20 for much of the quarter. Pistons veteran Anthony Tolliver got hot from deep in the final minutes of the game, but it proved to be too little too late as Boston's commanding lead was far too much to overcome, and they wound up with a 110-98 victory at Little Caesars Arena.
Marcus Smart was active for the first time since lacerating his hand on January 23rd. He scored 12 points (5-9 FG) with 6 assists in 26 minutes.
Aron Baynes suffered an elbow injury three minutes into the first quarter and did not return. Coach Brad Stevens stated in his post-game presser that Baynes is "feeling a little bit better" and has not been ruled out for Saturday's matchup with the Knicks.
Daniel Theis scored a career-high 19 points on 8-10 shooting and grabbed 7 rebounds in 21 minutes of action.
Al Horford and the rest of Boston's defense limited the Pistons' newly-acquired Blake Griffin to 17 points on 5-19 shooting.
Ish Smith led all scorers with 20 points (9-11 FG) along with 6 assists.
The Celtics now head to New York to face the Knicks in the second game of a back-to-back.