The Celtics had a 13-point lead entering the fourth quarter, but the Pistons turned up the pressure in the fourth, forcing five Celtics turnovers with their trapping defense.
Detroit closed to within 100-99 with 1:23 left before the Celtics put the game away.
"Man, it was the longest fourth quarter out of all the games we played in," said Celtics forward Paul Pierce. "The fourth quarter is something we're going to have to go back and look at, because if we get ourselves in this position again in Detroit, we've got to be able to close the game out a little bit better than we did tonight...I thought we were a little passive when they put out the traps...I thought we just kind of let the time pass away and hoping that we were going to win the game."
With his starters playing so many minutes, Celtics coach Doc Rivers was asked if his team was tired in the fourth.
"No, I don't think we got tired," he said. "We just had some bad turnovers. We've got to get the ball in Rondo's hands, the point guard's hands, him making decisions. His hook passes were not some of my favorites, though... We made it interesting (laughter)."