Winning Rally

2nd unit’s tighter D sparks fourth-quarter rally as Pistons KO Boston

TEAM COLORS

The story of the game in Pistons red, white and blue

WHITE HOT – The Pistons came from 19 points down in the third quarter to take a fourth-quarter lead, then pulled it out in the final minute by going on a 8-0 run to win 115-111 over the Boston Celtics. Earlier this season, the Pistons rallied from 21 down to win at Boston. The Celtics, who average 95.5 points a game, had 95 at the end of three quarters but the Pistons – with three bench players out with starters Andre Drummond and Kyle Singler – played much tighter defense in the fourth quarter as they opened on a 15-4 run to lead by a point. There were six more lead changes with the Pistons going ahead for good on two Rodney Stuckey free throws with 57 seconds to play. Drummond recorded his 52nd double-double of the season with 19 points and 20 rebounds. Greg Monroe added 21 points and seven boards and Brandon Jennings had 20 points.

BLUE COLLAR – Rodney Stuckey came off the bench with five minutes left in the first quarter with the Pistons struggling to stay close to the red-hot Celtics and he immediately juiced up their offense by attacking the paint. Stuckey scored nine points in the first quarter, making all four of his shots, to get the Pistons going offensively. When the Pistons went with the Peyton Siva at point guard along with Jonas Jerebko off the bench to start the fourth quarter, Stuckey helped carry the offense again with eight points. He finished with a game-high 26.

RED FLAG – Both teams played Friday night games on the East Coast and flew into Detroit late, but the Celtics were the much livelier team for the first three quarters. One glaring stat: Boston had more offensive rebounds (11) than the Pistons had defensive boards (nine). Boston’s starting frontcourt of Jeff Green (19), Jared Sullinger (12) and Brandon Bass (10) combined for 41 points in the first half alone and finished with 63.



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In the smoldering ruins of Friday night’s loss at Brooklyn, John Loyer found something that raised his eyebrows. Trailing by 22, he began the fourth quarter with little-used rookie Peyton Siva at point guard, along with Rodney Stuckey and Jonas Jerebko also from his bench. He lined them up with starters Andre Drummond and Kyle Singler and watched as something that’s proven maddeningly elusive for the Pistons this season – chemistry – arose out of the mist.

They got within nine points before losing to the red-hot Nets, who won their 15th straight at home. But against a lesser opponent Saturday at home, that unit summoned a defensive energy missing all night, outscoring the Celtics 30-16 in the fourth quarter to complete a comeback from 19 points down.

“They got us back in with their energy,” Loyer said. “They moved the basketball, they fed off each other. You could see general excitement when each guy scored for the other guy.”

Stuckey scored 10 of his game-high 26 in the fourth quarter. Drummond grabbed six of his 20 rebounds. Jerebko hit consecutive 3-pointers 36 seconds apart, the second giving the Pistons their first lead since the game’s fourth minute. Siva contributed a couple of steals and a couple of assists and, for the second straight game, didn’t commit a turnover.

“We moved the ball,” Jerebko said. “We had everybody involved. We were rebounding, playing hard, so we came out with the win. It felt good.”

"I feel a lot more confident, just working out with Chauncey (Billups) has really helped me out a lot."

- Peyton Siva on confidence and team support
Full game quotes

It would have been another difficult loss to swallow, especially considering the circumstances. Boston lost on Friday night, at home, to the same Philadelphia team that snapped its 26-game losing streak by beating the Pistons a week ago. The Celtics had Rajon Rondo for 38 minutes in that loss, but they were without him – he’s still not playing back-to-back sets after last winter’s ACL surgery – at The Palace, as well as missing Kris Humphries, Avery Bradley and Gerald Wallace. In fact, Boston only had nine players available.

But there they were, a team that averages 95.5 points and game and shoots 43 percent, racking up 95 points through the first three quarters while shooting 54 percent and 57 percent from the 3-point line. Against Loyer’s fourth-quarter lineup, those Celtics shot 30 percent and made 1 of 8 from the 3-point line.

“Watch the difference between the way we fought through screens in the fourth quarter compared to the first three quarters,” Loyer said. “Really, the last four, five minutes of the third quarter, our intensity picked up.”

It was the second improbable comeback for the Pistons over Boston this season. In December, they spotted the Celtics a 21-point lead in the first half before winning 107-106. Celtics coach Brad Stevens tipped his cap to the defense the Pistons played to spark their comeback, especially citing Jerebko.

“They ratcheted up their pressure on the ball,” he said. “It changed how they were guarding the pick and roll by changing personnel. Jerebko was much more active at the four and it made a huge difference how they were guarding us.”

The Celtics, like the Pistons, are one of the league’s poorer 3-point shooting teams, ranking 28th to Detroit’s 29th in accuracy and attempting a modest 20.6 per game. But Boston was 13 of 23 through three quarters and Jerebko thought they were coming far too easily from his vantage point on the bench.

“I feel like they were shooting a lot of open threes and they were making them,” he said. “We were just not giving a full effort. We were just letting them shoot open threes and you can’t do that with a team like that, that can get hot.”

On the bench, Chauncey Billups was in Siva’s ear, too, watching the Detroit defense get picked apart.

“Chauncey told me it looked like the guys were just going through the motions, so I just tried to go out there and make the hustle plays,” Siva said. “Dive on the ground and be that type of guy that somebody can lean on for energy. When you think positive, positive results happen.”

So the Pistons staved off elimination, at least for a night, thanks to a lineup that’s 2-for-2 in sparking comebacks.

“I talked to Chauncey and he told me to go out there and play aggressive and bring a lot of energy to the team,” Siva said. “He felt that’s what we needed, so that’s what I tried to do. I think everybody really bought into it and we just played with a lot of energy. It felt good to get that win.