Jaylen Brown came into the second straight matchup against the Detroit Pistons on a tear, and it didn’t stop in the first quarter, as he posted 13 points in the opening frame, and 22 points in the first half all together. However, the Celtics defense wouldn’t take advantage of Brown’s efforts, letting the Pistons score on them regularly and efficiently. They would show glimpses of their defensive abilities as a team, only to return to the subpar form they have been displaying so frequently to start the season. When Brown came off the floor the offense visibly looked lost as they struggled to generate any offense, constantly using the entire shot clock and being forced to take some poor shots. However, once Brown came back into the game along with Marcus Smart, the Celtics were able to string together a few defensive stops and get some big buckets from Brown and Jayson Tatum, putting the Celtics up at half 61-57.
Celtics rookie guard Payton Pritchard was a defensive menace in the first half with the Celtics being +9 with him on the court in the first half. The first half featured no free throws for the Celtics as they continue to have the 5th least average free throw attempts per game with 19.8 per game. This has been an issue that has plagued them in many of their previous games, especially their previous matchup against the Pistons.
The Celtics’ defense in the second half was just like the first half – they would be awful for the most part, while occasionally showing some promise for a few plays, only to return to their prior ways. Offensively, the third quarter alone featured seven Celtics turnovers, which you just can’t do if you expect to consistently win games. In the fourth quarter, Svi Mykhailiuk was constantly left open, and that allowed the Pistons to take the lead with 4:51 left in the fourth quarter.
However, in the end the Celtics were able to win the game off of a game winning jumper and then block by Jayson Tatum. Jaylen Brown finished the game with 31 points on 13/16 shooting and 5/8 from three. Tatum posted a near triple double as he had 24 points, 12 assists and 8 rebounds.
If Jaylen can continue playing at the rate he has been, he could find himself in the conversation for the Most Improved Player Award. He has been the Celtics best player this season thus far and that’s nothing against Jayson Tatum, who has playing well in his own right.
There is much for the Celtics to improve on both offense and defense, as they struggled at times throughout this one. This game showed what the Celtics look like on a bad night and hopefully this is a one off occurrence. When they play their two big lineup with Tristan Thompson and Daniel Theis it limits the amount of spacing they are given and their speed, hurting them on both sides of the court. Moving forward they should look to go towards a different lineup combination and possibly add a stretch four that could guard multiple positions, which will be difficult.
The Celtics will face the Raptors tomorrow night, January 4th at 7:30pm at home.