AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — This is not your big brother’s Detroit Pistons. This is a bad team right now that doesn’t play any defense and the Celtics took pull advantage by slicing the Pistons into pieces with precision.
Five Boston players scored in double figures and Rajon Rondo continued his torrid assist pace with 17, giving him 67 in four games or an average of 16.7. Rondo was able to dive into the paint, find open teammates for short jumpers or dish to the perimeter for jumpers. The flow was impressive and the Celtics made up for their gaffe last week at Cleveland by beating an inferior team.
By the way, since beating the Celtics on their opening night, the Cavaliers are 0-3 with home losses to Sacramento and Atlanta, making the Celtics performance that night look even worse.
Fast forward to tonight, the Celtics were efficient by establishing Kevin Garnett early and he dominated his matchup with young Austin Daye, who scored 16 but gave up 20. The Celtics shot 52 percent, got 12 points out of Jermaine O’Neal and even watched as Semih Erden and Luke Harangody made impressive debuts.
“Big night for the team,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “Rondo had nine assists at halftime and the team has 18 assists and three turnovers. When we move the ball, our assist numbers are high.”
Garnett set the tone with early points and the Celtics never trailed in this game. Perhaps last season, Boston would have toyed with Detroit and ended up losing this game and the Pistons made a run to cut the lead to 12 with the ball early in the fourth quarter. But they couldn’t convert and Rivers inserted the starters who ran off 11 straight points to seal the game.
“The last few days in practice we were like, look if we are going to shoot 50 percent from the field, score all these points from the field, we can’t turn the ball over,'” forward Paul Pierce said. “At times we are own worst enemy. The Pistons are 0-3 and they definitely have talent but it was a game we were supposed to win.”