Celtics aim for home-and-home sweep of Pistons
BOSTON — After handing Detroit its first loss of the young season Saturday night, the Boston Celtics go for a sweep of the home-and-home series at TD Garden Tuesday night.
Saturday night in Detroit, the Celtics, who have struggled out of the gate, got 32 points and 16 rebounds combined from Marcus Morris and Daniel Theis as well as 19 points from Jaylen Brown and 15 from Gordon Hayward in cruising to a 109-89 win.
That improved the Celtics to 4-2 after a sweep of a two-game road trip to Oklahoma City and Detroit, while the Pistons fell to 4-1.
Brown, who averaged 14.5 points per game last year, was at 8.6 through five games and broke out both offensively and defensively — Blake Griffin scored just seven points with Brown hounding him.
“I wasn’t tripping,” Brown said after the game. “And I’ve guarded bigs before, especially my rookie year. Actually when Blake was (with the Los Angeles Clippers), I guarded him a little bit. So I was familiar when Brad (coach Stevens) asked me.”
Griffin, who already has a 50-point game on his 2018-19 resume, was 2 of 13 from the floor, missing all four 3-point attempts, and had six rebounds and three assists in 30 minutes.
“Blake’s a handful,” Stevens said. “We knew we were mostly going to have to play small on (Griffin) or (Andre) Drummond, so we just tried to be very active around those guys.”
Said Griffin: “They are good defensively but watch the tape and go back and look. We missed a lot of open shots — I did.”
The Boston bench outscored its counterpart 34-9 in the first half, grabbing the lead and taking off to the easy win — Dwane Casey’s first as the Pistons coach.
“It is disappointing,” Casey said. “One game doesn’t make a season. It should get our attention and show us how well we have to play each and every night.”
The Pistons won in their only visit to Boston last year (the Celtics won twice in Detroit) and are 5-4 at TD Garden over the past five seasons. They now hit town as Boston celebrates its 11th championship of this century — the Red Sox finishing off the World Series Sunday night.
With Aron Baynes out, Theis, questionable with a foot injury, came off the bench with 17 points and eight rebounds, while Hayward, continuing his comeback from that horrific ankle injury suffered in last year’s opener, had his season high with the 15 points (6 of 11 from the floor, 2 of 5 from 3-point range).
But Monday, the Celtics announced Theis will be out indefinitely with a slight tear in his right foot. He was limited to 63 games last year, his rookie season, because of a knee injury that required surgery.
Tuesday’s game marks the beginning of a stretch that has the Pistons on the road for five of their next six games.
“Boston is one of the top teams in our league — in the Eastern or Western Conference,” Casey said after the loss. “It’s a measuring stick for us and we didn’t get up to the level we needed to tonight.”
Drummond, who always produces against the Celtics, had 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the loss. In 22 career games (20 starts) against Boston, Drummond is averaging 17.2 points (his high against any team) and 14.9 rebounds per game.