Not even a 19-point lead is safe with the 2013-14 Boston Celtics, who were outscored by 14 in the final frame Saturday night as the Detroit Pistons emerged with a 115-111 triumph at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
THE NITTY GRITTY
Rodney Stuckey scored a game-high 26 points and made the go-ahead free throws in the final minute, while Andre Drummond put up 19 points and 20 rebounds to pace the Pistons. Jerryd Bayless scored a Celtics-high 25 points on 10-of-19 shooting but missed a potential go-ahead 3-pointer in the final seconds as the Pistons escaped after a feverish second-half rally. Six of Boston's nine available players finished in double figures for scoring, including Jeff Green (23 points) and Jared Sullinger (22 points, 10 rebounds). Rookie Phil Pressey, making a spot start at point guard, registered his first career double-double with 12 points and 11 assists over 36 ½ minutes.
The Celtics opened the third quarter by making five 3-pointers over the first 4:20 and twice pushed their lead as high as 19, but that advantage eroded to 10 by the end of the frame and quickly dwindled to single digits early in the fourth quarter. A Jonas Jerebko 3-pointer with 7:12 to play in the game had the Pistons out front 100-99 and capped a 21-5 burst for the hosts. The game seesawed from there, but Bayless' 3-point attempt with about six seconds to play wouldn't fall as the Pistons held on to win.
The Celtics dressed only nine players and were playing without three starters in Rajon Rondo (rest), Avery Bradley (Achilles), and Kris Humphries (knee). ... Boston shot 45.2 percent beyond the 3-point arc, making 14 of 31 attempts from distance. ... The Pistons outscored Boston 50-32 in the paint and won the battle on the glass 43-37. ... Detroit's biggest lead of the game was five points. ... The Pistons shot 36 free throws compared to Boston's 16. ... Chris Johnson endured maybe his worst game of the season, finishing with zero points and a blank stat line outside of one turnover over 11:32. He was a team-worst minus-16.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics (23-54) lost their eighth straight game and 13th in the past 14 tries. Boston will maintain the fourth-worst record in basketball with five games to play in the season. The Celtics have three days off before visiting the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night. A back-to-back looms after with a visit from the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday before a trip to meet the Cleveland Cavaliers.