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Celtics pay back Pistons with 91-81 road win

Aron Baynes keys Boston’s defensive efforts

NBA: Boston Celtics at Detroit Pistons Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Almost two weeks ago, the Detroit Pistons hung 118 points on the Celtics in Boston. Andre Drummond dominated and Boston was left reeling after losing to another top Eastern Conference team. Feeling as if they had some payback to extract, the Celtics picked up a big road victory in Detroit, beating the Pistons 91-81.

The reason the Celtics were able to come away with the win? They held Drummond in check. And the guy who did most of that work was Aron Baynes. Baynes scored just six points, but he grabbed 13 rebounds. More importantly, he controlled the game defensively. Baynes repeatedly cut off the Pistons guards on pick-and-roll actions and then recovered hard to Drummond to keep him from catching lobs or getting offensive rebounds. Tonight’s game for Baynes was a textbook example of how to have a huge impact without doing a lot in the box score.

Offensively, it was a balanced effort for Boston. Al Horford led five players in double figures with 18 points. Kyrie Irving added 16, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart scored 12 apiece, and Jayson Tatum added 11. Tatum hit 3 of 5 from behind the arc to increase his league-leading three-point percentage.

But as balanced as the offense was, it was the Celtics’ defense that got the job done. They held the Pistons to 81 points, the fewest Boston has allowed this year. Detroit shot just 33 percent from the floor and hit only 10 of 33 three-pointers. Former Celtic Avery Bradley scored 12 points in the first half but was held scoreless in the second half. Drummond scored just six points, while Tobias Harris led the Pistons with 19.

The Celtics will get right back at it tomorrow evening, as they play the Bulls in Chicago at 8:00 PM EST. This will be Boston’s second game of a busy five-game week.