Celtics outshoot pesky Pistons, 98-93

Celtics outshoot pesky Pistons, 98-93
April 3, 2013, 10:15 pm
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BOSTON — The Detroit Pistons opened the game by punishing the Boston Celtics inside with their 1-2 inside punch of Greg Monroe and former UConn standout Andre Drummond.

They spent a good chunk of the fourth quarter beating up the C's around the basket as well, with the number of bullies on the boards for Detroit increasing.

And the Celtics kept shooting . . . and shooting . . . and eventually, shot their way towards a much-needed 98-93 win.

Boston led by as many as 18 points, only to see its lead cut to as little as three points in the fourth quarter.

But as the Pistons closed in on a potential sweep of the regular season series with a win on Wednesday, the Celtics responded with a series of clutch baskets and free throws to withstand the late-game rally by Detroit.

Few shots were bigger than Jeff Green's 3-pointer with less than a minute to play that put the Celtics ahead, 96-91.

But the pesky Pistons countered with a quick bucket seconds later, making it a one-possession game with 44 seconds to play.

Detroit had a chance to tie the game, but Charlie Villanueva's 3-point attempt with seconds remaining was no different than the previous six he took -- off the mark.

Terry put the game away with a pair of free throws with 9.9 seconds to play.

With the win, Boston is now officially in the playoffs with their victory along with Philadelphia's 88-83 loss at Charlotte on Wednesday.

Boston picked a good night to knock down shots because they truly had no answer for Detroit's inside players who controlled the action around the glass f

The Pistons punished the Celtics on the inside with a dominant 1-2 punch of Greg Monroe and former UConn standout Andre Drummond.

Detroit's dynamic frontcourt duo combined for 12 points in the first quarter on 6-for-11 shooting.

Even more important was how their play around the basket set the tone for Boston's interior struggles which included a decisive 18-6 advantage on points in the paint in just the first quarter.

That, combined with some strong shooting by Detroit's guards, had the Celtics looking up at a five-point deficit (30-25) after the first.

But Boston's second unit brought them back in the second quarter with a 7-0 run capped off by a pair of free throws by Jeff Green that put the C's ahead 32-30.

From there, it became a back and fourth affair with neither team showing any signs of pulling away anytime soon until the C's reeled off nine straight to take a 44-35 lead following a pair of free throws by Brandon Bass with 5:39 to play in the half.

The biggest part of Boston's second quarter surge was their ability to keep the beefier Pistons frontcourt from dominating the paint either on the boards or with their scoring.

In the first quarter, Boston was outscored 18-6 on points in the paint and were out-rebounded 13-6.

The second quarter was an entirely different game, with the Celtics actually edging the Pistons 11-10 on the boards and cutting Detroit's edge on points in the paint in the second quarter to just 10-8.

Holding their own on the boards, strong defense and balanced scoring -- five different Celtics players had three or more points in the second quarter -- allowed the Celtics to start pulling away with a 54-44 lead at the half.

Boston led by as many as 18 points in the third quarter before taking a seven-point lead into the fourth.