Not This Time Around (Pistons at Celtics; 02.15.23)

Jenny Rohl/ALOST


akoiki-passport2 – by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief

BOSTON — The last time the Detroit Pistons visited Beantown, the pulled off one of the biggest surprise results of the last NBA campaign, which occurred right before the All-Star Break. Jayson Tatum made sure déjà vu was not in the cards on Wednesday, also while ensuring the Celtics would have the league’s best record going into All-Star weekend.

Tatum scored 38 points while grabbing nine rebounds and dishing out seven assists as Boston defeated the Pistons 127-109 at TD Garden in the final game before the league’s All-Star Weekend festivities get underway in a couple of days. Marcus Smart, returning to the lineup after missing the past 10 games with an ankle injury, had nine points, seven rebounds, six assists and six steals in 29 minutes played.

With the win, Boston moved to 42-17 on the season, ensuring that the Celtics would go into the break with the highest-winning percentage of any NBA team, as they sit one game ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks ahead of the Bucks’ game tomorrow in Chicago.

Boston’s surge that eventually led them to appear in the NBA Finals at the end of last season started in earnest at around this time in 2022, beginning a nine-game winning streak at the end of last January and, surprisingly, ending at the hands of the Pistons right before the All-Star Break. Tatum scored 22 points that night, but eclipsed that total in the third quarter alone tonight, scoring 24 points and hitting all six of his three-point attempts in the frame.

That third quarter did see the Pistons score 38 points as a team, and they cut a 15-point halftime deficit down to eight. However, Boston was able to close the game out in the fourth in large part to reserve Malcolm Brodgon, who scored seven of his 25 points in the quarter. Overall, Brogdon hit 10-of-14 from the field, including five of Boston’s 21 three-pointers on the night.

Bojan Bogdanovic led six Pistons players who scored in double figures with 28 points, making 12 of his 17 shots from the field. James Wiseman, traded to Detroit from the Golden State Warriors ahead of the trade deadline last week, scored 11 points and grabbed five rebounds in his Pistons debut.

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