Keys to the Game

Keys to the Game: Celtics 110, Pistons 98

Key Moment
Key Player
Box Score Nuggets
Quote of the Night

Key Moment

The Boston Celtics entered the All-Star break in a defensive funk, but they returned to action Friday night looking like the C's of old. It appeared that the eight-day layoff, and the return of a key defensive cog, was just the recipe for a turnaround on that end of the floor, as Boston handed the Detroit Pistons a 110-98 defeat at Little Caesars Arena.

Boston's most promising defensive stretch came at the end of the third quarter, leading into the middle of the fourth frame. The C's were barely clinging onto a 77-73 lead with 2:47 left in the third; but then they peeled out, while leaving the Pistons in the dust.

Boston went on a 22-6 run from that point all the way until the 5:15 mark of the fourth quarter. Detroit made just three field goals during the 9:32 stretch, at one point missing eight shot attempts in a row.

Oh, and guess who was on the floor for that entire run for the Celtics? Marcus Smart.

It was Smart's first game back in nearly a month since suffering a right hand laceration. And that right hand was healed and in the faces of the Pistons' players all night long. His play was particularly critical during the late-game stretch that put the Celtics ahead by 20 points and led to their convincing win on the road.

Key Player

The All-Star break must've done wonders for Daniel Theis, because he emerged Friday night looking like a star.

The rookie big man tallied 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field to lead all Boston scorers. In the process, he annihilated his previous career-high scoring mark of 12 points, and he did it while playing fewer than 21 minutes.

Theis also grabbed a team-high seven rebounds – four of which came on the offensive glass – a game-high-tying two steals, and also made both of his 3-point attempts.

Theis' offensive eruption led to an astronomical 65-point bench effort for the Celtics, while his defensive presence helped limit Detroit's second unit to just 21 points.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Daniel Theis scored a team-high – and career-high – 19 points off the bench.
  • Theis also led the Celtics in rebounds and tied for the game-high in steals with two.
  • Detroit guard Ish Smith edged Theis for the game-high scoring mark with 20 points.
  • Boston's bench more than tripled up Detroit's second unit, 65-21
  • Andre Drummond corralled a game-high 17 rebounds, including six on the offensive end.
  • Boston connected on 17-of-39 3-pointers for a 43.6 percent clip.
  • The Celtics dished out 30 assists to Detroit's 16.
  • Terry Rozier led the game with seven assists, while Kyrie Irving and Marcus Smart both dished out six.
  • In his return from a hand injury, Smart also scored 12 points and corralled three boards.
  • Smart, Theis and Marcus Morris each logged plus-15 ratings.
  • Both teams logged 10 second-chance points and four blocked shots.
  • The Celtics finished with eight steals, which was twice as many as Detroit tallied.

Quote of the Night

"To have that month break was kind of like a cheat sheet for me. I’ve got fresh legs while everybody else is still working out the kinks in their legs.

Marcus Smart on his strong return.

Key Player