Pistons cruise by Celtics, 98-88

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Pistons cruise by Celtics, 98-88

BOSTON Kevin Garnett or no Kevin Garnett, losing at home to the Detroit Pistons -- the '12 Pistons, not the '04 or '05 title-contending Pistons -- should not have happened.

Now, as the Boston Celtics gear up for a tough road trip -- easily their toughest stretch of games this year -- they do so on a sour note following a 98-88 home loss to the Detroit Pistons.

In a relatively close game for three quarters, with neither team leading by more than seven points, the Pistons (9-22) began to open the game up in the fourth quarter behind the long range shooting of former UConn star Ben Gordon.

Although it was Rodney Stuckey who carried Detroit with a team-high 25 points, it was Gordon's clutch shooting in the fourth that positioned the Pistons for the upset.

He finished with 22 points, 12 of which came in the fourth.

It came on a night when Rajon Rondo was on another level -- a level no one donning a white and green jersey could reach.

Rondo finished with a career-high 35 points, six assists and five rebounds.

Garnett wasn't the only member of the Big Three missing, although his absence was due to a hip flexor injury that makes his status questionable for Thursday's game at Chicago.

Paul Pierce had no such excuse for his 10-point performance on 3-for-11 shooting from the field. Ray Allen wasn't much better, as he finished with 10 points, which included him missing four of his five field goal attempts.

With the loss, the Celtics don't have any time to dwell on yet another disappointing performance, not with their road trip kicking off Thursday night against the best team in the East, the Chicago Bulls.

Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

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Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

BOSTON -- “I didn’t feel that love after I made a pitching change in the sixth inning,” Terry Francona said after a 45-second standing ovation from Boston fans upon receiving the MLB Manager of the Year award from the BBWAA Thursday.

It’s without question the love for Francona runs deep in the city. Why wouldn’t it? He was the leader in breaking the 86-year old curse, and wound up winning another World Series title for Boston three years later.

Actually, he was more of a co-leader, working alongside the same person who won the MLB Executive of the Year honors from the BBWAA for 2016.

Theo Epstein -- who received an ovation 17 seconds shorter than Francona, but who’s counting -- reminisced about the Red Sox ownership group that took a chance on a young kid who wasn’t necessarily the ideal candidate to take over as GM of a team, but now that’s helped him build the Chicago Cubs into a winning franchise and establish a great working environment.

This October marks 13 years since the ’04 championship, 10 years since ’07 and six years since the pair left Boston. Without question they’ve left their mark on the city and forever changed Red Sox baseball.

And while the fans showed their undying gratitude for Francona with an ovation almost as long as his acceptance speech, the Indians manager recognized the favor the current Red Sox brass has done for him.

“I’d like to thank Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox for getting Chris Sale the hell out of the Central Division,” Francona said.