Frosty shooting costs Pistons, skid hits six

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

Detroit —When it rains, it pours. And when it pours, generally, teams are going to lose games.

That’s where the Pistons are — the losses are pouring down and the skid is starting to bubble over into frustration.

Stack another one to the pile of Pistons losses.

This one echoes a familiar refrain: a double-digit deficit, a big comeback and disappointing finish. The Pistons trailed by 18 in the third quarter but stormed back with a 12-0 run in the fourth quarter, getting within four in the final four minutes.

Then the rain came down, as the Boston Celtics woke up just in time to take a 91-81 victory over the Pistons on Sunday afternoon at Little Caesars Arena.

BOX SCORE: Celtics 91, Pistons 81

It’s the sixth straight loss for the Pistons (14-12), who last won on Nov. 29, at home over the Phoenix Suns. The Pistons played their worst game in that stretch, posting season lows in points (81), field goals made (28), field-goal percentage (.333) and fast-break points (zero).

“We didn’t shoot really well. Our starters were 13-for-50. I have to go back and look at the film and see what I think when I watch it again and the quality of shots,” coach Stan Van Gundy said. “It seemed to me that we had a lot of makeable shots that didn’t go in.”

Tobias Harris had 19 points and eight rebounds, Anthony Tolliver 15 points and Avery Bradley 12. Reggie Jackson (0-for-9) and Andre Drummond combined to go 1-for-14 from the field, as the Celtics (23-5) looked to choke the offense by minimizing the effectiveness of the pick-and-roll and not letting Drummond — who had 26 points and 22 rebounds in the first meeting — get loose.

“They didn’t take their bodies off (Drummond) at all on any of his rolls,” Van Gundy said.

“We weren’t able to exploit it with other guys; it did get other guys shots, but we didn’t make them.”

The Celtics looked to be comfortably in control after a 6-2 spurt put them ahead, 79-63, with 8 minutes left. Stanley Johnson started the run with a reverse lay-in and Reggie Bullock followed with a basket. Harris hit back-to-back 3-pointers and Ish Smith finished the bench-backed run with a coast-to-coast lay-in at the 4:20 mark.

Jaylen Brown (12 points) stopped the run with a basket but Drummond (six points, 15 rebounds) followed with a putback tip-in — his only field goal of the game — to trim the margin to 81-77.

Al Horford (18 points, nine rebounds, six assists) hit a 3-pointer to stem the tide and after a pair of free throws from Drummond, rookie Jayson Tatum converted another 3-pointer to push the lead to eight.

The Celtics had a 10-0 run to start the third quarter and after a 3-pointer from Kyrie Irving (16 points), they had their largest lead, 60-42, with 5:55 left. Through three quarters, the Pistons had 59 points, their lowest total of the season, just ahead of their 62 points through three against the Cavaliers.

It was a turnaround from the Pistons’ win in Boston, in which they played one of their best games of the season.