For a franchise stuck in the mud, the Pistons sure have had success in one of the NBA’s toughest environments.
Detroit opened the second half of the season with a 116-103 win in Boston on Wednesday, making it six of the last seven years the Pistons have won a game at TD Garden.
Sekou Doumbouya (24 points) and Svi Mykhailiuk (21) set career highs as the Pistons ended a three-game losing streak to open a three-game road swing.
Markieff Morris equaled his season high with 23 points, and Derrick Rose scored 22 in his second start of the season.
“Whenever you come in here and compete against a team like this on the road, it’s just hard period,” Rose told Fox Sports Detroit after the game. “It just showed we had togetherness, we had a sense of urgency the entire night, and we stuck together the entire night.
“So something is coming.”
The Pistons (15-27) shot well on 3-pointers (12 for 32, 37.5 percent) but were excellent on two-point attempts, going 35 for 46 (76.1 percent).
"That's a talented defensive team and if you don't kick it out, you're not going to get much in the paint," Pistons coach Dwane Casey told reporters after the game. "That was our mindset going in. We worked on it (at shoot-around), and worked on it (Tuesday), and it paid off.
"With young players, you hope it sinks in."
Rose sparked the Pistons to an 11-4 lead as the team made its first five shots.
However, the second unit struggled at first without him until Morris heated up.
Morris scored 17 points in the first half after struggling in his first two games back from injury, going 2-for-19 shooting (10.5 percent) in those games after missing seven straight games.
Boston stayed on the pace though, and Gordon Hayward hit a fallaway in the lane to put Boston ahead 59-57 at halftime.
Doumbouya set his career high in the third quarter, and then Mykhailiuk banked a buzzer-beater from well behind the timeline to give the Pistons a 91-82 lead to close the third — although Rose later admitted he missed seeing the long-range shot because he was in the bathroom.
“Hydration, man. I was in the bathroom, bro,” Rose told FSD.
Mykhailiuk made a career-high five 3-pointers on eight attempts, as the young core showed off big moments in a tough environment, including three dunks from Doumbouya, who was 10 of 13 from the field.
Doumbouya has scored in double figures in seven of the eight games since being inserted in the starting lineup on Jan. 2 against the Los Angeles Clippers.
In that span, Doumbouya is shooting 43 for 79 (54.4 percent) from the field and 12 for 29 (41.4 percent) on 3-pointers.
"Every day, it's simple, like normal," Doumbouya told reporters after the game. "It's just an opportunity, you've got to take them, play the game, don't try to do too much, and play the right way. That's it.
"Everybody was on the same page, and we were ready for this game."
The Pistons opened the fourth quarter with a 17-5 run, buoyed by 3-point shots from Mykhailiuk and Tony Snell to take a 108-87 lead with 7:04 left.
“We’ve got a young team, and the guys they come in, they work their butt off,” Rose said. “Everybody is just coming in and trying to add or give the team whatever they got. Thank God we got the win because of that.”
Rose returned late, finishing with 29 minutes played. He was 11 of 13 from the field and had six assists.
Hayward had a game-high 25 points, and Jaylen Brown added 24 despite going 0 for 5 on free throws. Marcus Smart was ejected late after arguing a foul call.
The Pistons play at Atlanta on Saturday and continue to Washington for a matinee Monday on the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.
Saturday will be the second straight game that Andre Drummond will play against a team with rumored interest in acquiring him at the Feb. 6 trade deadline.
On Wednesday, Drummond had 13 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists.
The game was two nights after Drummond was benched for the final 20 minutes in an overtime loss Monday to New Orleans. Casey after that game and again Tuesday criticized the general compete level of his team, saying the players who played hardest were the ones who finished the game.
"I thought Andre came in and did a heck of a job, playing the game the right way," Casey said. "Kicking the ball out, quarterbacking, rebounding, doing his job."
Bruce Brown had one steal, extending his current NBA-high streak of games with at least one to 13.
The Pistons, whose bench outscored Boston 47-23, improved their road record to 7-14.
Boston fell to 16-4 at home.
Matt Schoch is a freelance writer.