BOSTON – Unless you’re starting point guard is named Stephen Curry, there’s no reason why any NBA team should be taking 42 – yes, 42 – 3-pointers in one game.
But there were the Boston Celtics, bombing away from deep range all night long, clanking one missed shot after another as the Detroit Pistons handed them a 121-114 home loss.
"That’s a little high,” Boston’s Jae Crowder told reporters after the loss. “Their defense is not that good to force up 42 3-point attempts.”
- Highlights: Detroit Pistons 121, Boston Celtics 114
- Stars, studs and duds: Five shots 'not enough' for Al Horford
- Celtics last-second rally falls short, Pistons win, 121-114
The high number of 3s taken were indeed problematic for the Celtics.
But players were quick to point out that there was an even bigger issue plaguing them on Wednesday night – their defense.
“We didn’t get stops when we needed to,” Crowder said. “And early on those guys felt comfortable.”
Said Avery Bradley: “They just wanted it more. They played hard the entire game and they were making shots.”
Detroit, which came into the game ranked 19th in the NBA in field goal percentage (.445), finished Wednesday’s game having connected on 55.2 percent of their shots from the field.
“Over the course of forty-eight minutes, no question, best offensive performance of the year,” said Stan Van Gundy, Detroit’s head coach and president of basketball operations.
Boston certainly has to get better at both ends of the floor, but scoring 114 points should be more than enough to win a game.
It’s their defense that has to get back to playing at the level we’ve seen the past couple of weeks which has catapulted them from being one of the league’s worst to steadily becoming one of the league’s better defensive squads which is where they expect to be when all is said and done.
“What really hurt us was transition defense,” Boston’s Al Horford told reporters after the loss. “Ish Smith really pushing the pace. They do a good job of spreading their shooters around him so he’s basically going one-on-one against our guy. We needed to do a better job of containing him. I just think our transition was really the difference because they got a lot of easy baskets.”
Jae Crowder believes part of the problem is the Celtics’ attitude towards playing defense.
“We have to get a little more nastier on the defensive end and not let a team come in and get comfortable,” Crowder said. “It’s not been an ongoing thing. It happened (Wednesday night) and it happened in the Denver game, a couple (other) games. For the most part we’ve been trying to impose our will first.”
But having been ranked among the NBA’s top offensive teams for the better part of this season thus far, the Celtics didn’t seem eager to buckle down defensively to gradually work their way back into the game.
“We were trying to get it all back at once,” Bradley said. “I still like the effort we played with at the end. All the guys still played hard, tried to win the game.”
Added Crowder: “We have to believe in the process and our game plan and stick to it instead of veering off and doing our own thing sometimes. We have to stick to it, knowing we have a lot of basketball left when we get down early.”
And to Detroit’s credit, they were coming off an impressive road win at Charlotte on Tuesday night and seemingly picked up where they left off, against Detroit.
“They played terrific and made shots,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “In a game like that, you’ve got to be even more in their airspace and you’ve got to capitalize even more on the offensive end. Otherwise, you’re probably in trouble.”