Boston Celtics

Porzingis refused to let ‘complacency' take over in win against Pistons

Porzingis logged a season-high 35 points in Boston's comeback overtime win vs. Detroit.

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The Boston Celtics narrowly escaped the Detroit Pistons on Thursday night, overcoming a 21-point deficit to win 128-122 in overtime. Going into the halftime break down 19 points, Kristaps Porzingis believes their ability to come back in the second half will benefit the Celtics through the rest of the season and into the playoffs.

"We knew we had to [come back], that first half was very uncharacteristic for us," Porzingis told NBC Sports Boston's Abby Chin following the OT win. "We had to turn it on in the second half, and you saw it in the first minute we came out -- we came out a completely different team."

The Celtics came out hot to start the second half, outscoring the Pistons 35-16. Without Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Porzingis led the way in scoring in the third quarter, combining for 23 of the team's 35 points. While Porzingis struggled in the first half, scoring just six points, the veteran big man scored 29 through the second half and overtime to make for a season-high 35 points.

"We tried to do every little thing we could to get ourselves back into the game, and we did that," Porzingis added. "What a contrast -- the atmosphere, the game, everything from the first half to the second. It was an incredible game and I'm glad we got that win."

While the Celtics couldn't find a way to secure the boards and were out-rebounded 57 to 43, they put pressure on Pistons ballhandlers and forced Detroit into 18 turnovers. Tatum took charge on defense, logging a season-high five steals, while the rest of Boston's roster combined for an additional five.

"Our effort was completely different in the second half," Porzingis said when asked what changed from the first half to the second. "This will be a good example of how, when you're good, it's easy to kind of get a bit complacent, and that's maybe what happened to us in the first half. After coming off a longer trip on the road, different time zones -- there are excuses we could find -- but we just didn't come out the right way."

The Celtics just returned home after a four-game West Coast road trip where they finished 3-1. With a heavy deficit at half, it could have been easy for Boston to start making excuses on why they lost. Instead, they found a way to return to playing Celtic basketball -- focusing on defense and a fast-paced tempo.

"It was a different team in the second half," Porzingis said. "Running, getting those steals, being aggressive -- we got the job done."

After sending Detroit home with its 28th consecutive loss, Porzingis and the Celtics will resume action on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. ET against the 12-18 Toronto Raptors. They'll look to remain unbeaten at TD Garden for the 16th straight game.

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