What a difference one or two very good players can make. An Al Horford block was the difference in the game. Horford was excellent in his return as the Celtics defeated the Pistons. The Celtics won this game on the road in Detroit. This was the first time Detroit has lost a game at home this season. The Celtics backcourt, lead by Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley, was stellar as usual in the win.
Free Throw and 3 Point Shooting a key for Celtics
The Celtics shot 94% from the free throw line and 38% from deep.considering they only shot 40% from the field this was huge. Every point matters in close games, and the Celtics made the most of their opportunities at the stripe.
Isaiah Thomas made 2 free throws with 31 seconds to go in this game. These free throws were key down the stretch. The Celtics finished with 16 points on 17 free throw attempts.
The Celtics were also 12-31 from three-point range. The Pistons seemed to be giving up the three in order to pack the paint. The Celtics were happy to take them when open. It would be nice to see the Celtics attack the paint more. However if a team is going to concede open looks to you, you have to take them and make them. The Celtics did just that tonight.
Al Horford Block
Al Horford was excellent from the opening tip. He finished with 18 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 3 blocks. Al was also doing the little things that don’t show up on the stat sheet. Horford set great screens, and got his teammates open. The space he provides on the floor allows his teammates room to operate.
However no play was bigger than Al Horford’s block to win the game.
The Celtics chose to defend the final play of the game man on man. The four Celtics surrounding Horford did a great job of denying the ball on the inbounds play. Horford was defending Baynes.
Horford chose to stay within Baynes and the rim, rather than try to deny the ball. This essentially forced the Pistons to pass to Baynes, as he was the only guy open.
Horford timed the play perfectly, he allowed Baynes to get the ball. He allowed Baynes to leap for the jumper. And without fouling Al Horford made the game winning block.
Last season the Celtics had many memorable game winning plays. The Marcus Smart putback to win against Toronto. Or the Tyler Zeller pump fake hook shot against Memphis. This Al Horford block will be just as memorable this season.
Celtics Back-Court Dominance
The front-court for the Pistons played very well tonight, however the back-court of the Celtics was incredible.
Thomas finished with 24 points and 8 assists. Bradley played great defense on Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, holding him to 4 points on 1 for 7 shooting. Bradley also added 13 points and 4 rebounds.
The Celtics back-court outscored the Pistons back-court 37 to 16.
Celtics Healthy, Face Young T-Wolves Monday
The Celtics will look forward to their enjoying their new-found health against the Timberwolves Monday. The Timberwolves feature three players scoring 18 or more a game, and will be a challenge for the Celtics defense. Wiggins, Lavine, and Towns have all been playing very well lately. However with their full complement of players back, hopefully the Celtics can put a streak together.