Celts Dominate Pistons To Notch Season-Best Fourth Straight Win

Marc D'Amico
Team Reporter and Analyst

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The Boston Celtics came out Friday night and played as if they were supposed to dominate the Detroit Pistons.

Candidly, they were supposed to dominate the Pistons, but that type of swag had eluded Boston for the majority of this season. It had struggled time and time again against less talented teams, but that trend appears to have gone out the window.

The Celtics took care of business early on against Detroit and cruised to a wire-to-wire victory, their second such win in their last three games. They pulled ahead by 12 during the first quarter, they led by 15 at halftime, and they slammed the door shut on the Pistons during a dominant third quarter that featured 19 points from three-time All-Star Jayson Tatum.

Boston allowed the Pistons to score only 31 points during the first half, and only 56 points through the first three quarters.

This impressive 102-93 triumph – the score of which appears much closer than it actually was – marked the team’s fourth straight win, its sixth out of seven games, and its 11th overall over its last 15 games.

“We’re coming out with the right focus from the start,” head coach Ime Udoka said of how the team has suddenly turned a corner, particularly against lesser opponents. “Obviously, 31 points (allowed) in the first half, 16-of-50 (shooting by Detroit) in the first three quarters… we guarded extremely well for the most part of the game until the end there, obviously. But coming out with the right mindset on both ends of the floor, having good carryover, and showing more consistency.”

That consistency is the most important piece of Boston’s equation. The C’s occasionally took care of business against lesser opponents earlier this season, but now they’re doing so at almost every opportunity. Boston is 8-2 during its last 10 games against teams that entered the matchup with a .500 record or worse.

There are many reasons for this newfound consistency, but center Robert Williams points directly at one as the cause of the team knowing it’s going to dominate subpar opponents, as opposed to hoping it might do so.

“I think our older guys are doing a great job before games in the locker room just keeping a great energy, talking to us. JB (Jaylen Brown), (Marcus) Smart, Al (Horford),” Williams told Celtics.com. “All of them are doing a great job preparing us before we even go out on the court. So when you got your main players fired up and they’re talking in your ear, you gotta follow their lead.”

The team certainly has.

Brown scored 10 points during the first quarter to ignite an early run, while Horford contributed four points, five rebounds, an assist and a steal during the opening frame. During the third quarter, Tatum took over with his 19 points while Smart contributed his typical staunch defense to go along with four points, two assists and a steal.

With Boston following its leaders and now showcasing this type of play on a consistent basis, one might assume that the team’s confidence has skyrocketed. However, that’s not the case, according to Tatum.

“We’ve always been confident, even when we was under .500,” he said. “Frustrated might’ve been a better word. But doubting ourselves? There was never any doubt in that locker room.”

With the way they’ve been playing for the last five weeks, they’re gaining plenty of company in that department. It would be difficult to hold much doubt about the Celtics right now, especially after they’ve been pulverizing lesser teams for a month straight.