The Celtics returned home to take on the Detroit Pistons Wednesday night at the TD Garden. With a win tonight and a 76er loss on the road the Celtics would clinch a playoff spot. The team did just that but they sure don't make things easy on themselves. Led by a huge night from Jeff Green, who finished with 34 points, the Celtics snuck by Detroit 98-93.
The Pistons really used their size advantage in this game pounding the Celtics on the boards 52-34 with 25 offensive rebounds. That mark was just one rebound shy of the NBA high for offensive rebounds in a game and led to 22 extra shot attempts. Because of this Detroit was able to hang around in this game and erase a 18 point lead held by the Celtics midway through the third quarter.
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 3: Jeff Green #8 of the Boston Celtics drives the ball against Kyle Singler #25 of the Detroit Pistons on April 3, 2013 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
The Celtics regained their captain and veteran leader Paul Pierce in this game and boy did they need him. With Pierce back in the starting line-up Doc elected to go big to mask the Pistons. He started the game with Bradley, Pierce, Green, Bass, and Wilcox. These five have seen some time together before and played well with Pierce playing at the two guard spot. He had a solid night in just 33 minutes finishing with 17 points, 5 assists, and 3 rebounds.
Four of the five Celtics starters finished the game in double digits as Bass had an effective 17 points on 6-8 shooting and Bradley with 11 on 5-8 shooting. The player of the game undeniably went to Jeff Green who continues to impress and get better every night. He played a whopping 43 minutes in this game good for 34 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 blocks.
Jeff's presence on the court tonight was commanding as he refused to allow the Pistons to take control of this game making every big play down the stretch. With the game to close for comfort Green ripped down a crucial defensive rebound and hustled down the court to score a clean-up dunk with authority. He followed that series with an even bigger three-pointer from the corner that helped seal the Celtics victory with seconds left.
Detroit Pistons forward Jonas Jerebko, foreground, and center Greg Monroe (10) grapple for a rebound against Boston Celtics forwards Chris Wilcox (44) and Brandon Bass (30) in the second quarter of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, April 3, 2013, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
The Pistons have really caused the Celtics trouble as of late. Coming into tonight's game the Celtics had lost the last four to Detroit by double-digits each time. While that was not the case tonight they certainly did exploit the Celtics weaknesses scoring 58 points in the paint and dominating the glass. They were led by big man Greg Monroe who is a tremendous up and coming player. He finished with 24 points and 17 rebounds while almost single handedly keeping the Pistons alive.
Detroit also got a major contribution from the lesser known Jonas Jerebko off the bench. Jerebko has been sidelined with a Achilles injury on an off all year but is slowly reestablishing himself. He finished with 19 points on 6-10 shooting and was able to get to the rim throughout the night. On the flip side the Pistons received no help from big man Charlie Villanueva who shot an atrocious 2-17 on the night, going 0-8 from deep.
This was big win for a Celtics team clinging onto the seventh seed in the playoffs. They managed to get the win, seal a playoff spot with a 76er loss, and even gained ground on the Bucks who lost out in Minnesota. The team has just eight games left on the regular season schedule and will need to build on this win in order to hold that seventh seed.
The Celtics have three more games at home lined up before they hit the road and take on the Miami Heat for their final battle of the year. The guys play again on Friday night verse the Cavaliers who may get back their young All-Star Kyrie Irving. This too will be a must win for the Celtics who look to gain some momentum heading into the post season.
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