Keys to the Game: Celtics 102, Pistons 93

Marc D'Amico
Team Reporter and Analyst

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Key Moment

The Detroit Pistons were the first NBA team to feel the wrath of a three-time All-Star named Jayson Tatum. That happened Friday night, one night after Tatum was named to his third straight All-Star team, as the star wing led Boston to a 102-93 win over Detroit that appears much closer than it actually was.

Tatum erupted for 19 points during the third quarter alone to provide Boston with a lead that remained in comfortable territory for the rest of the night. His hot run turned what was 10-point lead midway through the quarter into a 22-point advantage heading into the final period.

Tatum caught fire at the 6:02 mark of the third quarter. That’s when he drilled a 3-pointer off of a pass from Jaylen Brown, and that’s when Detroit’s hope of a comeback win went out the window.

He went on to score 14 of Boston’s 19 points between that bucket and the final 30 seconds of the quarter. He did so by notching four 3-point plays, three of which were shots from beyond the arc, to go along with two monstrous dunks that will surely wind up on his season highlight reel.

Boston’s lead dropped over the final 12 minutes as its starters rested, but the Pistons never truly threatened to come away with a win. This marks Boston’s fourth straight win and its sixth overall over its last seven contests.

Key Player

Robert Williams continues to ascend up the charts of top centers in the league. His impressive performance Friday night supports his case.

Williams logged a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds against the Pistons, and he now leads the team outright in double-doubles this season with 16. But that wasn’t his most impressive achievement of the night. Instead, that title is bestowed upon his game-high five blocked shots. That total is one more than Detroit’s entire team total on the night.

Williams’ 11 rebounds stand as a team-high total among the Celtics. He also pitched in four assists during his nearly 32 minutes of action, and his plus/minus rating of plus-17 was the top mark in the game.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Five Celtics scored at least 10 points, including two reserves (Josh Richardson with 12, and Dennis Schroder with 10).
  • Jayson Tatum led the game with 24 points.
  • Robert Williams notched a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds, and also led the game with five blocks.
  • Saddiq Bey and Hamidou Diallo each scored 21 points to lead Detroit.
  • Boston held the Pistons to just 32.7 percent shooting on the night.
  • Marcus Smart led the game with six assists.
  • Boston never trailed and led by as many as 24 points.
  • Isaiah Stewart led the game with 17 rebounds.
  • Williams' five blocks were one more than Detroit's team total.
  • Diallo also logged 14 rebounds to notch a double-double.

Quote of the Night

Robert Williams on his relationship with Marcus Smart