November 19, 2012

Road-weary Celtics derailed by Pistons

With game out of hand, Boston finds a way to enable Rajon Rondo to extend his double-digit assist streak.

The Associated Press

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - The Detroit Pistons have had double-digit leads in all four of their home games this season.

Rodney Stuckey, Jared Sullinger
click image to enlarge

Pistons guard Rodney Stuckey is fouled by Boston forward Jared Sullinger while going to the basket in the second half Detroit’s 103-83 victory Sunday night.

The Associated Press


WHO: Celtics vs. San Antonio Spurs

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday

WHERE: TD Garden


The finally held on to one Sunday night.

After blowing late leads to Phoenix, Oklahoma City and Orlando, the Pistons (2-9) pulled away down the stretch to beat the Boston Celtics, 103-83.

The Celtics, playing their fourth game in five nights, trailed by as many as 22 points.

"We knew what their schedule situation was, and we wanted to take advantage," Pistons Coach Lawrence Frank said. "Boston was still ultra-competitive tonight, but we were able to get key stops, and that opened everything up for us."

Greg Monroe led the Pistons with 20 points and 13 rebounds, while Jason Maxiell added 15 points. Detroit had six players in double figures and shot 54.5 percent.

"I think those (home) games opened our eyes," Monroe said. "Those were all games we should have won, and we could have controlled them. I wouldn't say losing them was a good thing, but it was an eye-opener."

Jared Sullinger led the Celtics with 16 points, while Kevin Garnett had 15.

"We can't use the schedule as an excuse -- this is the NBA and you have to play stretches like this," Garnett said. "But when you see as many shots hit the front of the rim as we had tonight, you know that you don't have your legs."

The only consolation for the Celtics was that due to a concentrated effort in the fourth quarter, Rajon Rondo finished with 10 assists. That extended his double-digit streak to 34 games, the third longest in league history, but required Boston running a bizarre small-ball offense for the last several minutes designed strictly to get him assists.

"Why not?" Boston Coach Doc Rivers asked. "The press keeps talking about it, so I figured I would give him a shot at it. The funny thing was that the harder we tried, the worse we got at it."

Sullinger finally made the effort pay off, hitting a jumper with 51 seconds left to give Rondo his 10th assist, although Boston still trailed 101-81. Leandro Barbosa immediately went to the scorer's table to replace Rondo. Magic Johnson holds the NBA record with a 46-game streak in 1983-84, and John Stockton had a 37-game run in 1989.

Rondo acknowledged that the end of the game had been strange, but didn't feel bad about it.

"I don't think that much about the streak, but I know that down the road, it will be something that I'm very proud that I accomplished," he said.


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