AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Avery Bradley scored 18 points, Isaiah Thomas had 17 points and nine assists, and the Boston Celtics beat the Detroit Pistons 99-93 on Saturday night.
Each of Boston’s starters scored in double figures, and reserve Evan Turner added 13 points.
Detroit pulled within five in the last minute, and Turner was called for an offensive foul with 36 seconds left. Reggie Jackson’s 3-pointer then trimmed Boston’s lead to 95-93, but former Piston Jonas Jerebko hit a baseline jumper with 10.7 seconds left.
Pistons center Andre Drummond had 22 points and 22 rebounds for his fifth 20-20 game of the season. Coming into the day, Houston star Dwight Howard had the only other 20-20 game in the NBA this year.
But Detroit’s starting backcourt of Jackson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope combined for 23 points on 8-of-27 shooting, including 2 for 10 from 3-point range.
The Celtics started intentionally fouling Drummond in the first quarter, but he made both free throws the first time they sent him to the line, and Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy immediately put in Aron Baynes.
Boston returned to the strategy in the second quarter, with two Drummond misses helping the Celtics build a 10-point lead late in the period.
Ersan Ilyasova scored the final five points of the half to help Detroit close to 51-46. Drummond had 17 points and nine rebounds in the half, but went 3 for 8 from the line.
Boston increased its lead to 13 midway through the third, with a frustrated Van Gundy pulling several starters after defensive lapses. Drummond wasn’t one of them, but he finished the quarter on the bench to avoid being sent back to the free-throw line.
The reserves didn’t help, and despite going 4 for 20 from beyond the arc in the first three quarters, Boston held a comfortable 76-61 lead going into the fourth.
Stanley Johnson started the final quarter with a 3-pointer, and the return of Drummond and Morris helped Detroit cut the deficit to 80-71 with 8:25 to play. Brad Stevens called a timeout, but Kelly Olynyk missed a pair of free throws, prolonging the Pistons’ rally.
But Detroit couldn’t hit enough shots to make a serious run at the lead. Like the Celtics, the Pistons struggled badly from outside, going 4 for 18 from 3-point range, and Drummond’s offensive rebounds couldn’t keep enough possessions alive.
Celtics: Jae Crowder finished with 11 points and seven rebounds, ending his triple-double streak at three games.
Pistons: The Four Tops performed at halftime on the 80th birthday of Duke Fakir, the only remaining founding member of the Motown group. He received a Pistons No. 80 jersey as the crowd sang “Happy Birthday” to him. . The Pistons played their second straight home game against Boston, although there was a road trip in between.
Celtics: Visit the Knicks on Sunday
Pistons: Visit the Knicks on Tuesday