BOSTON, Massachusetts– The Detroit Pistons matched up with the Boston Celtics one last time this season. The Pistons won the first two games of the series and were looking for the series sweep. The Celtics were looking to clinch a playoff spot.
The Pistons came out from firing. Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond relentlessly attacked the offensive boards. Rodney Stuckey, replacing Jose Calderon in the starting lineup due to a right arm injury, was aggressive early. Monroe’s passing skills were on display as he found cutters to the rim. Kyle Singler was the recipient of a few passes and Brandon Knight knocked down a 3. When the dust cleared, the Pistons led 30-25 after one.
Then the Celtics played some lock down defense and made plays on offense. Boston opened the quarter on a 9-2 run. Jeff Green started things off with a jumper, Jason Terry hit a 3, and then Terry had a jumper.
Green then had a dunk, followed by a Brandon Bass jumper, and Terrence Williams ran right by rookie Kim English and he got an easy dunk. Green then had a layup and them Jordan Crawford had a 3-point play. The Pistons defense was non-existent. At the half, they trailed 54-44.
In the third, Boston expanded the lead to 18. Avery Bradley had a jumper, Green had another layup, then Green made a 3, and Bass had a jumper for a 70-52 lead. The lead was 74-56 after another Green layup and then Chris Wilcox had a slam. The Pistons then began to show some life.
Charlie Villanueva had a layup, Jonas Jerebko had free throws, Monroe had a put back, Jerebko had a reverse layup And-1, and Monroe had another put back and Detroit ended the quarter on an 11-0 run and pulled to within 74-67 after three.
Jerebko started the 4th with another reverse And-1 layup. I didn’t know what I was seeing but I loved it. Stuckey had two free throws for an 83-80 Celtics lead, but Boston would score six quick points capped by a Green jump shot and an 89-80 lead.
Monroe rebounded a Stuckey missed and converted an And-1 and on the next possession, Monroe had another offensive rebound and a put back plus the foul. The Celtics were hit with a technical foul as well. Stuckey hit the tech, Monroe finished the And-1, and the Pistons got four points on one possession and trailed 91-87.
Green made another jump shot, but Jerebko would hit a 3 for Detroit and the Pistons were within 93-90. On the ensuing Boston possession, Jerebko forced a turnover and passed it to Knight. Knight was all alone, looking to make it a 1 point game, and he missed the wide open fast break layup. It didn’t even hit the rim.
Two possessions later, Green hit a 3 and Boston had a 96-91 lead. Monroe had a quick dunk but Detroit couldn’t score again and they fell 98-93.
The Pistons had 27 offensive rebounds but shot only 36.6% from the floor, Boston shot 50.7%. Boston clinched their playoff spot, while Detroit took another lump and a better chance in the lottery.
Monroe had 24 and 17 rebounds, Stuckey had 22, and Jerebko had 19 off the bench. I was really disappointed in Knight tonight. Missing wide open fast break layups are a no-no in the NBA. I understand that players miss layups, but not wide open fast break layups. He didn’t even hit the rim. It wasn’t the reason why Detroit lost tonight but it certainly didn’t help their comeback chances.