Detroit Pistons’ streak snapped by rolling Boston Celtics

Detroit Pistons Reggie Jackson. (Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Detroit Pistons Reggie Jackson. (Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons (4-1) suffered their first lost of the season on Saturday, falling to the Boston Celtics (4-2) 109-89 at Little Caesars Arena. Andre Drummond finished with 18 points and eight rebounds.

The Detroit Pistons stomped into Saturday night’s game against the Boston Celtics as one of the few undefeated teams sprinkled throughout the league. Unfortunately for Pistons’ fans, the night did not end that way. The Pistons could not crack the riddle of Boston’s offense all night and eventually fell to the Celtics 109-89.

No one assumed the Pistons would come in like a wrecking ball against the Celtics. Boston came into the season with huge expectations, falling just short of the Warriors’ depth, offensive firepower and sneakily elite defense.

But, after averaging 116.0 points per over four games, the Pistons could not topple that 90-point mark. The team looked like they were out of their league as Boston exposed a few characteristics of their game plan that needs some attention and development. Ball movement, or lack thereof, is the first to come to mind.

Floor-spacing is key to coach Dwane Casey’s game plan for the Pistons, so their tally of 16 assists on the game is a bit of an aberration. Detroit has averaged about 21 assists per game.

Then again, that schedule included the Brooklyn Nets, a Ben Simmons-less Philadelphia 76ers squad and the lottery bound Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Boston Celtics are a different beast and their defensive game plan was clear before the game tipped off. Stop the twin towers, and do it as a collective.

It worked.

Blake Griffin scored a season-low seven points on 2-of-13 shooting and was virtually ineffective over four quarters. The Celtics did not only take away his shot, but the double-teams they sent his way would often shut off passing lanes forcing the Pistons deeper into the shot clock.

Andre Drummond had a solid game as he finished up with 18 points, 8 rebounds and one assist. Without a partner in the paint, it was for naught. Still, he and Stanley Johnson were the only bright spots for the Detroit Pistons.

Johnson contributed 16 points and three rebounds, but shot 3-of-8 from beyond the arc. His spotty three-point percentage highlights yet another pitfall of Detroit’s performance against Boston.

Collectively, the Detroit Pistons shot 7-of-37 from three-point range. The missed shots are not the story. It happens. Shooters are going to have off nights.

Once the game got out of hand, the Pistons were taking a lot of off-balance and contested jumpers quick into the shot clock. Before the season, Coach Casey made shot selection a strong point of emphasis, but against a top-tier team, the Pistons allowed their frustration to dictate the pace of the game.

As the team’s sharpshooter, Reggie Bullock has to do better than 1-of-5 from the 3-point line and six points overall. This is not the first game that Bullock has been an offensive liability.

If he is to improve the Pistons’ chances of climbing the Eastern Conference ranks, he will need to break out of his slump and get some threes down. With a lack of spot-up shooters on the floor, the Pistons require it.

The game against Boston was supposed to give the Pistons the sort of validity the franchise and its players are looking for. But, it’s only one game. The fifth game of the season.

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The Detroit Pistons will go back to the drawing board, and fine tune their weaknesses in time for Tuesday night when they face the Celtics once again. The guess is, this won’t happen again.