Boston Celtics hold off Detroit Pistons for 102-95 win

By Mike Shalin, The Sports Xchange  |  Feb. 4, 2016 at 1:06 AM
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BOSTON -- There were times in the second half Wednesday night where the Boston Celtics felt time was standing still.

"The game just dragged on forever," guard Evan Turner said after the Celtics threatened to blow a 24-point lead but held off the staggering Detroit Pistons 102-95.

Turner finished with 14 points, six rebounds and five assists off the bench after he had a double-double in New York.

"We just tried to weather the storm and fortunately we did," Turner said. "They're bound to hit runs, but at the end of the day when you're down 20, to a certain extent, you're playing with house money."

The huge lead fell to seven with 1:59 left, but the Celtics (29-22) managed to shut it down and post their sixth straight win at home since losing to the Pistons on Jan. 6.

"As I told the guys in there, I'm not going to act like that was anything but a win," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said.

The Celtics have won eight of their last 11 and 10 of their last 13, while the banged-up Pistons (26-24) have lost eight of their last 13.

"Well, we weren't ready to play at the beginning. They were right into us and we couldn't handle the pressure at all. We couldn't get good shots," Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy said. "They did a great job and we didn't respond to it."

All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas led a balanced Celtics scoring attack with 17 points and added seven assists and five rebounds. Guard Avery Bradley scored 15 points and forwards Jared Sullinger and Jae Crowder (six rebounds) and guard Marcus Smart each had 12 points.

Smart, with another strong effort off the bench, scored all of his points by going 4 of 7 from 3-point range and had four assists.

Guard Reggie Jackson, playing with a jammed right thumb that was taped, scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half and had seven assists for the Pistons. All-Star center Andrew Drummond posted 16 points and 13 rebounds, and forward Ersan Ilyasova and Marcus Morris scored 16 and 15 points, respectively. Morris added seven rebounds and four assists.

"We got down 20 points at the half and it's hard to erase that deficit," Jackson said. "This team is definitely one of the most resilient teams I've been on, continues to fight and battle, but we got to get better at not digging ourselves a hole."

The Pistons, who had several players dealing with injuries and lost guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to a groin strain in the first half, dropped their third in the last four games. Caldwell-Pope will have an MRI on Thursday.

The Celtics broke a 4-4 tie with nine straight points and never looked back. They led by 20 at the half and got the lead up to 24 in the third quarter.

Detroit woke up offensively, starting by nailing three 3-pointers in 57 seconds in the third quarter. But it wasn't enough as the Celtics evened the season series 2-2.

After winning in New York on Tuesday, the Celtics made it 9-3 on the second half of back-to-backs by holding on for their seventh win in the last eight games.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Boston has the fourth-best winning percentage in the NBA on the back end, trailing the San Antonio Spurs (8-0), Golden State Warriors (11-1) and Memphis Grizzlies (8-2).

That leaves the Celtics, 6-6 on the front end of the back-to-backs, atop the Eastern Conference in that category.

Boston, 4-1 at home and 5-2 on the road on the back ends, plays at least nine men and sometimes 10 every game, leaving players fresher for the toughest parts of the NBA schedule.

NOTES: The Celtics reportedly were talking to the Houston Rockets about a trade for C Dwight Howard. "We're just all like listening and laughing and trying to figure out what's real and what's not, but not putting a lot of a stock into it until somebody knocks on our door," Boston coach Brad Stevens said before Wednesday night's game. ... Detroit G Reggie Jackson (thumb) and F Marcus Morris (knee) both missed practice Tuesday but started Wednesday night. The Pistons visited with a banged-up roster that had coach Stan Van Gundy doing some shuffling. ... Pistons G Jodie Meeks, out with a broken right foot, was told Monday that it hasn't healed. "We're back off until March 1," Van Gundy said. "For practical matters, it's really hard to see him being able to get back and make much of a contribution this year."

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