Boston Celtics

Celtics-Pistons takeaways: Detroit loses 28th straight in wild fashion

The Celtics erased a 21-point deficit and held on in OT to keep the Pistons' historic skid alive.

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Three Key Storylines

  • An unexpected thriller
  • Porzingis and White fuel the comeback
  • Rebounding woes nearly cost C's

The Boston Celtics narrowly avoided an embarrassing loss to the lowly Detroit Pistons on Thursday night at TD Garden.

Detroit entered with a 27-game losing streak, the longest single-season skid in NBA history. That streak was nearly snapped as Detroit took a shocking 19-point lead over Boston into the half -- the largest lead against the C's this season. Boston erased that deficit with a dominant third quarter (35-16) but the Pistons fought hard in the fourth to force overtime.

Despite a valiant effort, Detroit couldn't keep up in the OT period and lost its 28th consecutive game, 128-122. The Celtics improved to 15-0 at home this year and extended their win streak at TD Garden to 22 games dating back to last season.

With Jaylen Brown (low back contusion) out, Kristaps Porzingis and Jayson Tatum paced the Celtics with 35 and 31 points, respectively. Cade Cunningham led the Pistons with 31 points (22 in the first half).

On Friday, the Celtics will host the Toronto Raptors on the second night of a back-to-back. Before we turn the page to that matchup, here are three takeaways from Thursday night's wild win.

An unexpected thriller

It was considered a foregone conclusion the Celtics would take care of business at home against a Pistons team that hasn't won a game since Oct. 28. You can't blame anyone for counting Detroit out, but Thursday's thriller was a reminder to expect the unexpected.

After shooting lights out on their West Coast trip, the C's struggled mightily in the first half. They shot a woeful 4-for-24 from 3-point range while the Pistons went 13-for-25 from the floor (5-14 from deep). Cade Cunningham picked up where he left off on Tuesday (41 points vs. Brooklyn) with a 22-point first half in Boston to put the Pistons up 19.

Whatever Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla told his team in the locker room, it resonated. Boston outscored Detroit 35-16 in the frame to tie the game up while shooting 68 percent from the field.

The Pistons didn't back down in the fourth. It was a nail-biter of a quarter with both teams trading big shots down the stretch. Cunningham's goaltend on Tatum gave the Celtics a two-point lead with 8.7 seconds left in regulation, but Detroit responded with a game-tying layup with 4.6 seconds on the clock. Tatum's would-be game-winner bounced off the rim, sending the game into OT.

Finally, the feisty Pistons ran out of gas. The Celtics went on a 15-5 run late in OT to avoid what would have undoubtedly been their worst loss of the campaign thus far.

Porzingis and White fuel the comeback

With Jaylen Brown out, someone needed to step up to score alongside Jayson Tatum. Both Kristaps Porzingis and Derrick White were up for the challenge.

Porzingis dropped a season-high 35 points and did so on an efficient 13-of-21 (3-9 3-PT) shooting performance. When the Celtics needed a big shot, their prized offseason addition came through.

The Pistons had no answer for Porzingis in the post and that proved to be a difference-maker in Boston's tightly-contested victory. The Latvian big man also notched a team-high eight rebounds during a game in which his team was dominated on the boards.

White struggled mightily in the first half but, as our Chris Forsberg pointed out, he found his groove after a sneaker change in the second half:

White bounced back from a rough first half (1-5 FG, two turnovers) to shoot 8-for-10 from the field with only one turnover between the second half and overtime. He also drilled a clutch 3-pointer late in OT to help propel Boston to victory.

White finished with 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting. He also logged five assists, four rebounds, three assists, and two blocks to add to his All-Star case.

Rebounding woes nearly cost C's

Had the Celtics lost this game, it would have been due to their lackluster rebounding efforts.

The Pistons dominated the boards, 57-43. They had a 19-11 advantage on the offensive glass that gave them 31 second-chance points to the Celtics' 17. Eleven of Detroit's offensive boards came in the fourth quarter and OT.

Three Detroit players -- Bojan Bogdanović (12), Jalen Duren (14), and Jaden Ivey (10) -- recorded double-digit rebounds. No C's hit that mark.

Boston escaped with the victory regardless, but it'll need to clean it up in the rebounding department when it hosts Toronto on Friday night.

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