Ford Keys to the Game: Celtics 92, Pistons 104

Ford Keys to the Game

Celtics 92, Pistons 104

Game Highlights

Photo of the Game

Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett heads back to the locker room after injuring his right leg during the first quarter of Boston's loss to Detrot.
Allen Einstein/NBAE/Getty

Key Moment

The Celtics trailed for nearly the entirety of their 104-92 loss to Detroit Wednesday night, and with the game’s result never being in doubt, Boston would gladly accept a quick spurt, questionable call or momentum-building play by the Pistons landing in this Key Moment section. The Celtics would be happy to see such a moment wind up here because that would guarantee the fact that no game-changing injuries occurred. Sadly, that’s not the case.

The Key Moment of this game rests solely on the exit of Kevin Garnett with 2:31 remaining in the first quarter.

Just moments after Garnett slammed home a dunk for his only points of the game, he gingerly hobbled up court hoping that the pain he felt in his right leg would dissipate. It didn’t, and what ensued throughout the next few minutes left us all wondering when we’d see KG on the court again.

After Garnett realized that he was unable to continue play, he intentionally fouled Tayshaun Prince in order to stop the clock. He dropped to his knees near midcourt and eventually made his way to the sideline to have his right leg examined by athletic trainer Ed Lacerte. After a few minutes on the bench, KG walked under his own power back to the locker room for deeper evaluation.

The good news for Boston is that the it sounds as if the injury is not bone-related. The finest details, at least to this point, can be found in Doc Rivers' postgame quote.

"I know it’s a muscle, not a knee, which is good," said Rivers. "I don’t know how severe it is or anything like that."

The extent of the injury will likely be determined when Garnett undergoes an MRI on Thursday back in Boston. Until then, the assumption is that the injury is to a muscle on the outside of his right leg.

Although it was a frightening few moments, the initial feedback couldn't be any better for Boston. The fact that Rivers could comfortably tell the media that he knows the injury is muscle-related, not bone-related, is about the most positive news one could hope for after seeing the level of pain KG had been experiencing on the court after he took off for the dunk.

Boston trailed 23-16 when Garnett exited the game and it was all downhill for the C’s after that. There was a considerable drop off at both ends of the court without his presence, so one can only hope that he will be healthy and able to return to the lineup in the near future.

Key Box Score Line

During Boston’s worst game of the season, only one of its players was able to perform at a level that resembles his accustomed output. That man, Paul Pierce, was nearly unstoppable Wednesday night.

The Captain netted a season-high 33 points against the Pistons and did so while shooting the ball effectively from everywhere on the court. His final shooting tallies were 11-of-16 from the floor, 3-of-4 from downtown and 8-of-8 from the free-throw line. In addition to his stellar scoring, Pierce also tied Tracy McGrady for the game-high in assists with eight, pulled down five rebounds and ripped four steals.

His five turnovers, which trailed only Ray Allen’s six, were a negative, but not enough to outshine the positives. Pierce did everything he could to will his team to victory, but one man cannot stage a comeback by himself.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Detroit scored 23 points off of Boston's 21 turnovers.
  • The Celtics actually outscored the Pistons by 10 in the paint, by a count of 42-32.
  • No Detroit player finished with a negative plus/minus rating.
  • Paul Pierce scored a game-high 33 points, tied for the game-high with eight assists and led the contest with four steals.
  • Tracy McGrady, starting at point guard for Detroit, led the team with 21 points and eight assists.
  • Six Pistons scored in double-figures, compared to only three for the Celtics.
  • Outside of Pierce, no other Celtic scored more than 12 points.
  • Boston made 18 of its 19 free throw attempts.
  • Pierce (16) and Glen Davis (15) led the game in field goal attempts.
  • Jermaine O'Neal had his best game since returning from a knee injury, notching seven points to go along with six rebounds.
  • Ray Allen and Pierce led the game in turnovers, committing six and five, respectively.
  • Four technical fouls were whistled, one against each team for defensive three-second violations, one against Chris Wilcox, and one against Doc Rivers.
  • Both teams shot better than 50 percent from the floor.
  • Neither team grabbed more than 30 rebounds.
  • Allen's seven boards were a game-high.
  • Four of the 10 players who started the game scored eight or less points.

Quote of the Night

Doc Rivers on the team's string of injuries: "How many more can we really take right now? I mean the list is getting really long, but I don’t think anyone is going to feel bad for us, I just have that feeling. So we have to do something about it and go out and try to still win games."