Pistons escape shorthanded Celtics, 115-111
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - Reserve guard Rodney Stuckey had 26 points and the Detroit Pistons staved off playoff elimination with a 115-111 victory over the short-handed Boston Celtics on Saturday night at The Palace.
Pistons center Andre Drummond notched his fourth consecutive double-double and Eastern Conference-high 52nd this season with 19 points and 20 rebounds. Power forward Greg Monroe added 21 points and seven rebounds and point guard Brandon Jennings chipped in 20 points for the Pistons.
Detroit (28-49), which had lost 10 of its last 12, can be eliminated from postseason contention on Sunday if New York defeats Miami or Atlanta beats Indiana.
Guard Jerry Bayless' 25 points led Boston (23-54), which squandered a 19-point second-half lead and lost its eighth straight. Forward Jeff Green scored 23 points and power forward Jared Sullinger had 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Celtics, who had nine players available. Rookie point guard Phil Pressey had his first double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
A 3-point barrage early in the third quarter allowed the Celtics to build upon its double-digit halftime lead. Pressey and Bayless scored from long range in the opening minute and Sullinger soon added two more to make it 79-60. The Pistons gradually chipped away and cut the deficit to 95-85 just before the end of the quarter on a Monroe layup.
Reserve forward Jonas Jerebko then sparked a 15-4 Pistons run at the start of the fourth to erase Boston's advantage. Jerebko made back-to-back 3-pointers to put Detroit up 100-99 with 7:12 remaining.
After a Bayless jumper, Pressey's tip-in with 2:51 left put Boston up 110-107. Drummond's putback with 1:51 remaining tied it at 111.
Stuckey's free throws with 57.6 seconds left gave the Pistons the lead. Sullinger then missed a layup, but Stuckey misfired a 3-point try. Bayless' subsequent 3-point attempt rimmed out and Jennings clinched Detroit's victory with two free throws.
NOTES: Boston PG Rajon Rondo did not play in order to rest his surgically repaired right knee. His backcourt partner, Avery Bradley, sat out with a strained right Achilles tendon. ... Pistons backup point guard Will Bynum (sore left foot) did not dress. ... Detroit won its last five home games against the Celtics. ... The Celtics used their 21st lineup this season. They only have a winning record with three of them. ... The Pistons have now allowed 60 or more halftime points on 17 occasions this season. ... Detroit leads the NBA in offensive rebounding (14.4 per game), but it has not translated to victories. "It probably tells you we're not a very good perimeter shooting team," interim head coach John Loyer said. "It shows you we've got to be an inside-out team." ... Boston had just four wins since Feb. 10. "It's been a tough season, but it's also been a tough month-and-a-half," coach Brad Stevens said. ... Both teams play next at Atlanta. The Pistons' game there on Tuesday was a postponement from Jan. 29 because of weather conditions in Atlanta. Boston faces the Hawks on Wednesday.