C’s Hold NBA's Leading Rebounder to Season-Low on Glass

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BOSTON – The Boston Celtics have always experienced great difficulty containing Andre Drummond on the glass.

During his career, Drummond has averaged more rebounds against Boston (14.7 per game) than he has versus any other Eastern Conference team. Entering Wednesday night’s matchup at TD Garden, he had also tallied 20-or-more boards during four of his last seven contests against the C’s, including a 22-rebound effort when he faced Boston on Dec. 26.

This time, the Celtics were ready for him on the glass, as they limited him to a season-low five rebounds. Keeping him in check on the boards, however, was not enough in the end as the Pistons came back from a 13-point deficit to win 99-94.

Drummond entered Wednesday’s game averaging a league-leading 16.0 rebounds per game, so suppressing him in that department was a major point of emphasis for the Celtics.

Coach brad Stevens said before the game that doing so would be no easy task, especially on the offensive boards. Drummond is leading the league in that category for the third straight season (5.7 offensive rebounds per game), and that usually leads to an abundance of second chance points.

“You’re not going to keep him from getting an offensive rebound all night, but you just have to make them as difficult as possible,” Stevens prior to tip-off. “I think you have to take away as many of those rim-run and rim-roll dunks as you can, and then obviously get him off the glass.”

The last time Drummond laid a goose egg in the offensive rebounding department was Jan. 14 of last season. The C’s came oh-so-close to breaking that streak Wednesday night, when they held him to just one offensive board.

As for those rim-run and rim-roll dunks Stevens mentioned?


Boston set the tone early against Drummond, as they held him to just two points and two rebounds during his 10-minute stint during the first quarter.

His counterpart, Amir Johnson, scored six points on three dunks during that opening frame. Each of those jams was made possible because the C’s were able to draw Drummond away from Johnson on dribble-drives, leaving him under the hoop for a few easy buckets.

Drummond bit on two of Isaiah Thomas’ drives early in the quarter; the first of which IT passed under the center’s swatting left hand for a wide open Johnson dunk; the second of which resulted in a missed shot for Thomas, though Johnson was there for the put-back slam.

Later during the quarter, Kelly Olynyk drew Drummond away from the rim again on a dribble-drive. As the 6-foot-11 center rose up for a block attempt, KO dished it off under the hoop to his fellow big man for another jam.

Johnson clearly had the upper hand throughout the first half, when he tallied 10 points and eight boards. Drummond, meanwhile, ran into foul trouble during the second quarter and went into the break still holding onto just those two points and two rebounds.

Drummond then found a bit of an offensive rhythm during the second half. He hit two hook shots early in the third, so Johnson opted to foul him knowing that his biggest weakness is the free throw line.

“I think I did well the first couple of quarters [against Drummond],” said Johnson, who finished the game with 16 points and tied a season-high with 11 rebounds. “He got his stuff going in the third and I started to use my fouls a little bit to get him off his game.”

That worked for the time being. Drummond, who is shooting just 36.5 percent from the line this season, hit only 1-of-5 attempts from the stripe during the third quarter.

But then he came alive again in the fourth, hitting three key buckets including a turnaround bank shot that tied the game, 81-81.

“I thought he turned the game around with his physical play,” Stevens said of Drummond’s late surge. “Scoring the ball the way he did in the second half got them going.”

Stevens added, “He’s a hard guy to do a good job on.”

However, when it came to limiting Drummond on the glass, the C’s did better than any opposing team has done this season. He had finished with fewer than 10 rebounds just three times during his first 35 games. No team had held him to less than seven.

It was also the lowest rebounding total Drummond has ever had against the C’s, but containing him in that capacity ultimately wasn’t enough in the end.