Pistons' win streak ends with blowout loss to sizzling Celtics
Detroit — Open shot after open shot. Basket after basket.
The Boston Celtics were unrelenting on offense, taking it right to the Pistons, to the tune of 50 percent from the field and 56 percent on 3-pointers in the first half.
While the Celtics sizzled, the Pistons fizzled, falling into a second-quarter hole that blew the game open and made the final two quarters a filler for the second units.
The Pistons didn’t find any of the answers at either end of the court, left only to sift through the ashes of a 109-89 blowout loss to the Celtics on Saturday night at Little Caesars Arena. The loss ends the Pistons’ 4-0 start to the season, their best in a decade.
BOX SCORE: Celtics 109, Pistons 89
“We missed some shots we normally have been making but you have to go and guard on the other end. They got some feel-good shots and got some momentum and the basket got bigger for them,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “That’s on us; we have to do a better job and make them feel us.
“Boston is one of the top teams in our league — in the Eastern or Western Conference. It’s a measuring stick for us and we didn’t get up to the level we needed to tonight.”
The Celtics (4-2) put the game away in the second quarter, with a 25-8 run, one of many long scoring spurts in the game. That turned a 32-23 game into a 26-point bulge in almost seven minutes.
Andre Drummond had 18 points and eight rebounds and Stanley Johnson added a season-high 16 points but the Celtics neutralized Blake Griffin — who had averaged 33.6 points through his first four games — holding him to seven points, on 2-of-13 shooting.
“They are good defensively but watch the tape and go back and look,” Griffin said. “We missed a lot of open shots — I did.”
The Pistons were ahead, 6-5, before Jaylen Brown (19 points) hit a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer. Johnson answered with the first of his three 3-pointers but the Celtics responded with a 13-2 run, with four points each from Al Horford and Marcus Morris (18 points, eight rebounds).
Johnson scored the Pistons’ final eight points of the first period and the Celtics (4-2) led, 30-21.
“This was one of Stanley’s all-around better games, moving the basketball and defensively he was into it,” Casey said. “Jayson Tatum is a handful to guard and they’re a good team and tonight they played like it.
“I don’t know if they’ve had their best game and I would say tonight they shot the ball as well as they’ve shot it in all their games.”
In the second quarter, the Celtics pulled away, with their big run, with only three Pistons field goals over a stretch of almost 8 minutes, for a 57-31 lead at the 4:03 mark.
Griffin got his first basket of the game, on a goaltending call, with 3:11 left in the half, and added a free throw, but Brown tacked on a 3-pointer. The Pistons were within 19 after two straight baskets by Drummond but Morris finished the half with a 3-pointer with 1.3 seconds left and the Celtics led, 63-41, at halftime.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Pistons got within 15 on a Drummond tip-in but Morris answered with a 3-pointer to push the lead back to 87-69 at the 11:26 mark. The Celtics answered with a 16-5 spurt to put the game out of reach.
“It’s back to the drawing board; one game doesn’t make a season,” Casey said. “It should get our attention and show us the level we have to play with every night.”