It was an uphill struggle from the start.
After the Detroit Pistons (1-4) held the Boston Celtics (3-3) to a dozen first-quarter points and grabbed its 15-point (27-12) lead, Pistons rookie Saddiq Bey (17 points) went berserk. He connected on five 3-pointers (5-of-11), four in the third quarter, as Detroit’s lead ballooned to 21.
Despite the Celtics’ valiant effort of erasing their whopping deficit in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, the Pistons managed to keep Boston at bay in dramatic fashion. The Celtics spent the game’s final four minutes searching for the bottom of the net en route to a 96-93 loss to the Pistons — Detroit’s first win of the regular season.
Jerami Grant scored a team-high 24 points and Derrick Rose added 17 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists off the bench for the Pistons.
Jayson Tatum On The Celtics’ Loss Vs. Pistons: ‘We’re The Older Guys; That’s On Us’
After the game, All-Star Jayson Tatum took full responsibility when he was asked why the Celtics got off to such a slow start.
“The starters,” Tatum said. “Myself, (Marcus) Smart, (Daniel) Theis, Tristan (Thompson), J.B. (Jaylen Brown), — we got to start the game better; set the tone for the rest of the team. You know (we’re), the older guys; that’s on us.”
The Celtics’ best quarter was, without question, the third. Boston outscored Detroit 33-24 before Jaylen Brown scored 7 unanswered points at the start of the fourth quarter, which gave the Celtics its first lead of the night — 79-78.
“Second half we played with a lot more purpose and we just played tougher and it gave ourselves a chance to win,” Tatum said. “But we missed a lot of good looks towards the end of the game.”
Brad Stevens On Celtics’ First-Quarter Woes: ‘We Just Decreased Our Margin For Error’
With 4:15 left to play, Tatum’s drained a 3-pointer that put the Celtics up by five (93-88) — Boston’s biggest lead of the night. It also turned out to be its final points in the game.
The Celtics shot 0-for-9 in the last four minutes while the Pistons went on an 8-0 run to close out the win. Tatum (28) and Brown (25) combined for 53 points. Marcus Smart finished with 13 points, 9 assists, and 3 steals.
In the final minute, all three, respectively, had clean, open attempts from behind the arc, but the Celtics came up short.
“We had a lot of wide-open shots at that time,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said after the loss. “I think what we did was we started off so poorly in the first half that we just decreased our margin for error and every one of those shots was much more meaningful than if we play with better substance in the first half. That might have been the basketball gods’ way of saying that we didn’t deserve to win the game.
“But I thought a lot of the looks in the last minute we all pretty good looks, you know; overall.”
For Tatum, his focus, for now, is on the team’s first-quarter performance as he and the Celtics will look to get off to a much quicker start in their rematch against the Pistons on Sunday.
“This is a tough one; especially, with how we started the game,” Tatum said. “We really dug ourselves in a hole — which we came back and gave ourselves a chance but you have to play both halves and you have to start better.”