Brandon Jennings leads big rally past Celtics

This was the classic trap game for the Detroit Pistons. Coming off a road win against the Indiana Pacers, the team didn’t start off right against a lesser opponent like the Boston Celtics.

The Celtics scored the game’s first six points behind Brandon Bass and Jeff Green. Later, Jared Sullinger had a layup, Jordan Crawford threw an alley-oop to Bass, and Avery Bradley had a layup off a Brandon Jennings turnover for a 19-9 Boston lead.

A Jennings step back brought the Pistons to within 26-20, but the Celtics answered with a big run, a 16-3 run to end the quarter. Bradley hit a jumper, then he hit a 3, Crawford hit a pull-up jumper, and Gerald Wallace had a put back. After a Chauncey Billups 3, Bradley answered with a 3, and then with 0.2 seconds left Boston threw a lob to Sullinger who tipped it in and the Celtics led 42-23 after one.

Mo Cheeks rallied his troops and told his team to get going. His team responded.

Boston went up 21 on a Kris Humphries jumper, but Billups found Kyle Singler for a triple, and a Billups steal set up Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for a layup to help bring the Pistons to within 44-30. Jennings found Andre Drummond for a dunk, then he hit a step back jumper, and he found Jonas Jerebko for an And-1.

The Pistons rally continued as Greg Monroe had a put back, the he had a jumper, and Drummond had a layup to bring Detroit to within 56-46. Caldwell-Pope hit a runner at the buzzer to bring the Pistons to within 63-52 at the half.

In the third, Boston went up 69-57 but the Pistons went on an 11-0 run. Jennings started it with a step back triple, he found Caldwell-Pope for a slam on the fast break, Drummond then rose over the smaller Celtics for a put back, Monroe drove to the rim for a layup, and then Drummond had another tip-in. The Pistons were within 69-68 and the Celtics seemed to be back on their heels.

Green put Boston up 73-70, but Jennings sized up Bradley, hit him with a couple of dribbles, and pulled up for 3. He hit and he was fouled by Bradley. Jennings completed the 4-point play to give the Pistons their first lead at 74-73 with 5:01 left in the third. Later, Josh Smith gave the Pistons the lead again at 78-77 after he was fouled on a layup. The Pistons trailed 81-80 after three.

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In the fourth, Billups hit a tough 3 over Sullinger for an 85-83 lead, Jennings had a layup, and Jennings found Singler for a layup and an 89-85 lead. The Celtics tied it at 89 after a Courtney Lee jumper, but Jennings hit another 3 in the face of Bradley to break the tie. Later, Josh Harrellson had a tip-in, and Drummond had a layup for a 96-91 lead.

Later, Jennings found Smith who threw down a flashy dunk for a 100-93 lead, then Jennings found Smith for a jumper, and Jennings found Smith one more time for a jumper and 104-97 lead and it seemed like the Pistons were on their way to a monumental win.

Not so fast, Boston answered as Crawford had an And-1, Sullinger had a tip-in, and Sullinger knocked down a triple as Drummond gave him too much room. The Celtics led 105-104 with 1:01 left.

Then Jennings came to the rescue. Jennings again sized up Bradley, stepped back, and hit a cold-blooded triple for a 107-105 lead with 46.7 seconds left. Drummond fouled Sullinger, but he could hit 1/2 free throws with 41 seconds left.

Jennings missed a 3 and the Celtics had 17.7 seconds left down by 1. Green, defended by Smith, drove to the rim but missed and the Pistons won 107-106. They trailed by 21 points and rallied to win. It showed incredible resolve by this team.

Jennings finished with 28 points and 14 assists, Smith had 20, Drummond had 14 and 16 boards, and Monroe had 12 and eight. Reserve Rodney Stuckey missed the game due to a sore right shoulder.

This was incredible. This team was down 21 and they didn’t quit. The old Pistons would’ve rolled over and took the loss. Not this year’s team, Jennings led the way and he was terrific. He knocked down clutch shot after clutch shot when his team needed it most. Also, if you’re paying attention to playoff standings in December, the Pistons and the Celtics were tied for the 4 spot. Now that the Pistons have 2 wins over Boston, that may be important when determining playoff seeding come April.

-Ky Carlin

Twitter: @Ky_Carlin


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