BOSTON CELTICS guard Isaiah Thomas, right, passes the ball as he is pressured by Detroit Pistons guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (5) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston on Wednesday.

BOSTON CELTICS guard Isaiah Thomas, right, passes the ball as he is pressured by Detroit Pistons guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (5) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston on Wednesday.

BOSTON

BOSTON (AP) — As one of the NBA’s top defensive teams this season, the Celtics have inevitably found themselves with some big leads.

They’re still mastering how to play with those cushions.

Isaiah Thomas had 17 points and seven assists to help Boston hold off the Detroit Pistons 102-95 on Wednesday night.

Detroit fell behind by as many as 24 in the third quarter before cutting the deficit to seven, but the Celtics strung together enough late baskets to preserve the win.

Avery Bradley added 15 points for Boston, which has won six straight home games and seven of eight overall.

“It’s hard to play up,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “You play a little bit more free when you’re down. But we need to play well all the time.”

Reggie Jackson led the Pistons with 17 points. Andre Drummond added 16 points and 13 rebounds.

The Pistons came back despite playing the second half without guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who left with a right groin strain after he appeared to slip on a wet spot on the court late in the second quarter.

Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy said Caldwell-Pope will have an MRI on Thursday but will “almost certainly be out” against New York.

The Celtics took advantage of the Pistons’ poor shooting and took a 20- point lead into halftime. Boston shared the ball in the first two quarters, amassing 18 assists on 23 field goals.

All 10 Celtics who played in the first half scored, including 21 points from the bench.


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