Big third quarter effort lifts Celtics
BOSTON — The Boston Celtics exploded for a 38-point third quarter and went on to defeat the Detroit Pistons 118-111 on Sunday night.
While winning their second straight and only their third in the last 10 games, the Celtics went 15-for-22 from the floor in the third quarter and 8-of-13 from 3-point range. Forward Jeff Green scored 14 of his 27 points in the period.
The 38 points were a third-quarter high for the Celtics this season. Boston then used an 8-0 run over a 2:06 span of the fourth quarter to maintain control.
Down by nine, the Pistons, who lost their ninth straight road game, made a run in the closing minutes, led by guard Will Bynum. They got as close as four points and had the ball, but could not score.
Boston point guard Rajon Rondo dished out a season-high 18 assists with no turnovers and scored 11 points. Rookie forward Kelly Olynyk came off the bench with 18 points and six rebounds, forward Kris Humphries had 20 points and 11 rebounds and guard Jerryd Bayless added 15 points for the Celtics (22-41), who ended Detroit’s four-game Boston winning streak.
Boston has won six of its last seven games against Eastern Conference opponents.
The Pistons, 3-10 under interim coach John Loyer since Maurice Cheeks was fired, have lost seven of their last eight and 10 of their last 12. They are 6-33 when allowing at least 100 points in a game.
Amazingly, at 24-39, they are still alive in the hunt for a playoff spot.
Detroit’s mammoth frontcourt of center Andre Drummond and forwards Josh Smith and Greg Monroe combined for 68 points and 47 rebounds. Smith scored 28 and grabbed 11 boards, Monroe added 22 points and 14 rebounds and Drummond had 18 points and 22 rebounds. Bynum finished with 18 of Detroit’s 21 bench points, including 15 in the fourth quarter.
The Celtics trailed 17-14 6:30 into the game but then used a 12-5 run through the final 3:12 of the first quarter to take the lead for good. They were up by six when a 7-0 spurt grew the lead to 13.
The Pistons cut it to eight at the break, but Boston came out firing in the third.
The Celts, 2-of-12 from 3-point range in the first half, nailed the eight treys in the third quarter, four of them by Green, who hit three in a 1:27 span. The lead grew as large as 17, and it was 11 at the end of Boston’s explosive third quarter.