1. It wasn’t the dominating road victory that we’ve become used to from the Boston Celtics, but it was a good victory, nonetheless. Early afternoon starts are always tricky and it was the first game of a back-to-back. Plus, the Pistons have been scrappy lately, including beating the Celtics right before the All-Star break.
This felt like the kind of game Boston would have lost earlier this year. Instead, they found a way to win. That’s yet another example of how this team has turned the corner.
2. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum combined for 53 points, but shot a combined 18-of-45 from the field. That meant they needed some help and they got it from two of the Celtics kids.
Grant Williams had a big day with 13 points, four rebounds and three assists. This was a good drive-and-dish to Al Horford:
In the second half, Williams came up with a big block on a Jerami Grant drive. Kudos to Williams for successfully lobbying for the challenge:
To open the fourth quarter, Williams had this pretty spin to get the and-1 on a layup:
You don’t often see a give-and-go off an inbounds play, but Williams did a good job to hit Jaylen Brown for a layup here:
3. While Williams was good throughout the game, Payton Pritchard stepped up in the fourth quarter. This was a big-time bailout shot from Pritchard. Take note of how he does a good job of relocating for Al Horford when Cade Cunningham turns his head:
A couple of plays later, there was no hesitation from Pritchard to get a layup. As soon as he catches it, Pritchard blows by old friend Kelly Olynyk:
Later in the quarter, with the Pistons hanging around, Pritchard hit another big three. Once again, his smart relocation from the corner to the break helped open up him for this shot:
4. In some of the clips above, you could see some good ball movement. Seven different Celtics had at least three assists as part of their 31 assists on 42 baskets.
This was a play off an ATO. Boston did a good job catching Cade Cunningham ball-watching a few times, including on this pretty dime from Marcus Smart to Jayson Tatum on the back-cut:
Robert Williams fired an absolute bullet to Jaylen Brown to get him this layup. Good passing and a good cut on display here:
When the ball is moving, you get guys passing up good shots for great shots. Payton Pritchard could have taken this one, but he gives it up to get Jaylen Brown an even better look:
5. As part of the good passing, was Jayson Tatum assuming the role of playmaker for a lot of the afternoon. He had six assists and a handful of other really good reads throughout the night.
This is an outstanding find from Tatum to get Rob Williams an easy one:
This is another perfectly timed bounce-pass to get Al Horford a layup:
Then, to beat the buzzer, Tatum kicked to Derrick White for the corner three:
6. The above shot was the only one Derrick White hit. He seemed a little off his game in Detroit. White had some struggles containing ballhandlers. He also drove himself into turnovers a handful of times. That caused Ime Udoka to roll with Grant Williams and Payton Pritchard in his place down the stretch.
7. Jaylen Brown struggled to find his shot for a lot of the afternoon, but came up big late. This was a nice fallaway over Cade Cunningham:
A couple of plays later, Brown went by Cunningham for a layup that should have been an and-1:
8. This play started out pretty messy by Jayson Tatum, but he stayed patient and used a great fake for the play to finish really loudly:
9. Near the end, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Payton Pritchard teamed up to put the finishing touches on the victory:
10. No rest for the weary, as the Celtics made the short trip to Indianapolis to take on the Indiana Pacers on a back-to-back and a third game in four days. It’s another win Boston should get, but as the Celtics have become fond of saying: “It’s one game at a time.”
On to Indiana.