Late rally allows Detroit Pistons to snap 8-game skid against Boston Celtics, 112-111

Detroit Free Press

BOSTON — The Boston Celtics were the NBA’s hottest team, on a league-high nine-game winning streak entering Wednesday. The Detroit Pistons were the NBA’s coldest team, losing a league-high eight straight and 14 of their previous 16.

And yet, it was the Pistons (12-46) who ended Wednesday with a victory. It was one of the Pistons’ best efforts this season, as they knocked down 16 of 30 3-point attempts en route to defeating the Celtics, 112-111.

Jerami Grant made the game-winning bucket with 19.1 seconds left, calmly knocking down a turnaround jumper from midrange. Cade Cunningham and Isaiah Stewart both got a piece of a block on a Jaylen Brown layup attempt on the ensuing possession. And despite Cory Joseph turning the ball over on an inbounds pass at the six-second mark, the Pistons escaped with the victory after Jayson Tatum’s midrange jumper missed at the buzzer.

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Grant led the Pistons with 24 points, Saddiq Bey tallied 20 points, 11 rebounds and six assists and Cunningham added 20 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Kelly Olynyk also had a bounce-back performance with 15 points and six rebounds off of the bench, including three 3-pointers. Brown led all scorers with 31 points. It was a back-and-forth game that featured 25 lead changes and 15 ties, but Detroit made a 20-12 run to end the game.

Olynyk bounces back

It’s been rough going for Olynyk since the big man returned from health and safety protocols on Feb. 1. In eight games entering Wednesday, Olynyk had made just three of 19 3-point attempts while shooting 26.9% overall. He looked a step slow, and Pistons head coach Dwane Casey noted before the game that he may still be dealing with the after-effects of the virus.

Olynyk looked like his normal self against the Celtics. He opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer off of a drive-and-kick from Killian Hayes, a lob to Hamidou Diallo in transition and another 3-pointer from near the same spot. It was his first game with multiple 3-pointers since his 22-point outing against the Sacramento Kings on Jan. 19.

A hook and a pair of free throws late in the third quarter gave him his first game with double-figure scoring since returning from protocols.

Hot night from 3 buoys Pistons

The 3-point line hasn’t been kind to Detroit this season. The Pistons entered the game shooting 31.7%, the second-worst mark in the NBA. They’ve had stretches of good shooting, but have been unable to shoot with consistency.

Wednesday was one of their best nights from behind the arc. Their 53.3% clip was their best since shooting 54.2% against the Washington Wizards on Dec. 8, and second best of the season. Bey (5-for-8 from 3), Grant (4-for-6), Cunningham (3-for-6) and Olynyk (3-for-4) all made strong contributions.

Contact Omari Sankofa II at osankofa@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa. The Free Press has started a new digital subscription model. Here’s how you can gain access to our most exclusive Pistons content. Read more on the Detroit Pistons and sign up for our Pistons newsletter.

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