1. This was a business-like blowout for the Boston Celtics. The Detroit Pistons have given Boston trouble over the last couple of seasons, but the Celtics took care of business relatively early in this one.
Detroit made a little run in the third quarter, but Boston took back control and cruised to their first runaway victory of the year. Joe Mazzulla was able to empty the bench and get his regulars some additional rest. This is important as the Celtics started a three-in-four-nights stretch with this game.
The only downside? Malcolm Brogdon exited the game at halftime with right hamstring tightness. Mazzulla said the team was being cautious, but given Brogdon’s long injury history, this is something to monitor.
2. Jayson Tatum got going early in this one. It’s somewhat rare (usually Tatum feels his way into games), but an early set from this game was called for Tatum to get a touch. And he finished it with a pretty spin move to get the layup:
In the third quarter, with the Pistons threatening, Tatum took over. He scored 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting in the period. Tatum has done a good job varying how he attacks mismatches. With regularity, he gets downhill, but the step-back jumper is always there too:
Every game, Tatum seems to turn in an MVP sequence of plays. This one starts with him blocking Cade Cunningham at the rim before hitting the transition three:
31 points, five assists and some more excellent defense. Tatum’s MVP campaign continues to grow.
3. Jaylen Brown probably has the most consistent pullup jumper on the Celtics right now. He can get to it wherever and whenever he wants, using his size and lift to get it off over any defender.
Because of his burst, defenders tend to lay off Brown when he’s bringing the ball up. That little bit of space is all he needs:
Brown has gotten really good at using the pullup off screens too. He uses one extra jab dribble to get Isaiah Stewart rocking backwards and then he’s up with the shot:
Like Jayson Tatum, Brown is capable of some fun stretches himself. These back-to-back plays kind of encapsulate how far Brown’s offensive game has come. This first one is the sort of loud finish he’s been hammer through since he was a rookie:
This silky-smooth fadeaway has come after years of practice to perfect it:
4. Sam Hauser had a career-night with 24 points in 32 minutes off Boston’s bench. Hauser hit six-of-12 three-pointers, but he scored in a variety of ways beyond his usual spot-up jumpers.
With the shot clock running out, Hauser did a good job to drive the closeout for a runner here:
Hauser has also shown a good knack for reading the floor. Instead of staying rooted at the arc, Hauser makes a smart cut here and gets the nice pass from Jayson Tatum for the layup:
Of course, if you’re late with your closeout, Hauser is letting it rip:
And, once again, here’s a nice cut (off a fake screen from Marcus Smart) to get another layup:
That last stretch of three plays was seven consecutive points from Hauser, none of which were scored on his traditional spot-up at the arc.
5. Marcus Smart is dialed in as a playmaker right now. Against the Pistons, he finished with 11 assists. That was the first time in his career that Smart has reached double-digits in assists in three consecutive games.
Over those three games, Smart has 34 total assists against just four turnovers in 104 minutes.
In case you were still wondering: Marcus Smart is a point guard.
6. Al Horford tends to bring it more in bursts at this stage of his career. But he can still bring it, which is the important part. Saddiq Bey is a good player and he’s rapidly getting better too, but the veteran big man was too quick and too strong for Bey here:
This sequence was great from the Celtics veterans. Malcolm Brogdon starts it with a good block and rebound, before making the great hit-ahead pass to Horford who sprinted the floor for the layup:
7. In an effort to be balanced…the Celtics rebounding was putrid to start this game. The Pistons grabbed seven offensive rebounds in the first quarter alone. Overall, Boston cleaned things up somewhat after that, but Detroit still grabbed 15 offensive boards for the game.
That’s a 28.8% offensive rebounding rate for the Pistons. That’s just wasting good initial defense with an inability to get the rebound. And that’s part of the reason Detroit hung around in this game longer than they should have.
8. Derrick White has come off the bench for the last two games after starting the first nine games of the season, but he’s adapted back to that role just fine. In this one, White put up eight points, eight rebounds, four assists and played his typically good defense.
White’s quick decision-making has been key to the Celtics offense since he joined the team last season. This is a good ATO from Joe Mazzulla. He uses Sam Hauser’s gravity to give Grant Williams a cutting lane, and White is on time with the pass:
No Celtics are better at the drive-and-kick game than White and Malcolm Brogdon. Here’s the two working together:
Sometimes, White just has to do it himself. This step-back is a pretty sweet shot, if White can make it on a regular basis:
9. By the end of the game, the Celtics were having some fun. This pass from Jayson Tatum to a sprinting Payton Pritchard was gorgeous stuff:
Marcus Smart makes Marcus Smart plays:
Tatum dropped another pretty dime with this no-look to Jaylen Brown:
And then to cap it off, Brown started having himself an in-game dunk contest off this feed from Smart:
10. Friday night’s matchup is a good one. The Celtics host the Denver Nuggets in Boston. Both teams are coming into that game with 8-3 records and on four-game win streaks. We’ll see if the Celtics have Malcolm Brogdon, or if that hamstring needs some downtime. If Brogdon can’t go, it opens up minutes for Payton Pritchard, who has played sparingly thus far this season.
This is the first game of a back-to-back set too, as Boston will travel to Detroit for a rematch with the Pistons on Saturday night. That’s why stealing some rest in this blowout victory on Wednesday was so important.