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Halftime Hot Takes: Celtics offense flowing, need to keep Pistons off the boards

The Celtics hold a 14-point lead at the half in their game against the Pistons.

Detroit Pistons v Boston Celtics Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

The Boston Celtics are up 63-49 at the half against the Detroit Pistons. At face value, that’s a great score. But the first half of the game has two very different stories to tell.

First and foremost, the Celtics offense has played as advertised - one of the best in the league. There were a few rough patches, including four Malcolm Brogdon turnovers, but for the most part, they were generating good looks. Boston ended the half with 16 assists on 23 made baskets.

Jayson Tatum struggled to find his rhythm, but that was made up for by Jaylen Brown’s performance. He looks hot and has already poured in 17 points through the first two quarters.

Sam Hauser has also looked great, as he scored a bunch of points in quick succession near the end of the half. The 24-year-old sharpshooter put up 12 on 2-of-5 shooting from distance, and he also made a few gorgeous cuts to the basket.

Even Boston’s defense, which has struggled at times throughout the season, was solid. They hustled on the perimeter and were stingy below the basket.

The big problem? Rebounding.

As has been the story for most of the season, the Celtics were a dreadful rebounding team through the first half of this game. Detroit grabbed 32 rebounds to the Celtics’ 30, but the real killer was the offensive glass.

The Pistons combined to snag nine offensive rebounds in the first half, including three apiece from rookies Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren. Those offensive rebounds led to 11 second-chance points for the Pistons. And if it weren’t for their 4-of-11 shooting on second-chance opportunities, that number would have been much worse.

In fact, Detroit’s poor shooting was one of the main reasons the Celtics were able to fight through their rebounding woes. The Pistons shot 17-of-52 from the field and 5-of-23 from distance in the first half. Part of that was Boston’s solid defense, but they also missed a ton of open looks.

Heading into the second half, the Celtics desperately need to clean up their work on the glass. Giving up 11 second-chance opportunities will not lead to much success, even against one of the worst offenses in the NBA.

In addition, their turnover issues also need to be fixed. Brogdon tallied four of his own, contributing to seven first-half turnovers by the Celtics.

Outside of those two major issues, the Celtics have played a solid game thus far. Al Horford looks young again in the post, Brown is cooking, and Hauser seemingly can do no wrong. If they focus on keeping the Pistons off the offensive glass, they should be just fine.

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