Kyrie Irving wouldn’t call Boston’s 91-81 win at Detroit payback, even though the Nov. 27 loss to the Pistons was very much on the mind of him and his teammates.
As he went through the keys to Boston’s win, near the end he said, “just remember what they did to us at home. That was also in the back of our minds.”
Irving added, “I wouldn’t call it payback. It’s just always good when you can respond the way you want to, especially on their home floor just like they did on our home floor. They took care of business. We wanted to come here and take care of business.”
Indeed, beating Detroit was more about bouncing back than payback for Boston which had lost a hard-fought 105-102 game at San Antonio on Friday night.
“In order to continue to build character and an identity for our team,” Irving said. “You have to be able to respond to losses like that with a quick turnaround.”
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 91-81 win over Detroit.
There were others who scored more points and grabbed more rebounds, but it was the play of Baynes that really set the tone for the Celtics’ victory. His ability to not just defend Andre Drummond, but also to provide help against Detroit’s dribble-penetrators and still be in position to protect the rim and rebound, was impressive. He would finish with six points and a season-high 13 rebounds.
He began the game getting buckets and didn’t really let up, finishing with a game-high 19 points in part by using his quickness when defended by a bigger defender (Al Horford), or use his strength to bully less physically imposing players (Jaylen Brown).
His inside-outside game offensively was a major key for the Celtics all game. Horford led the Celtics with a near double-double, tallying a team-high 18 points to go with nine rebounds in addition to dishing out six assists.
It wasn’t a great shooting night for Bradley (12 points, 5-for-16 shooting), but he once again did an impressive job defensively especially against Kyrie Irving (16 points, 4-for-12 shooting).
Coming off the Pistons bench, Tolliver delivered 15 points on 6-for-9 shooting which was huge for keeping Detroit in the game.
Credit Aron Baynes and company for absolutely taking him out of the game. He missed four of his five shot attempts, and the one that counted was a tip-in that upon seeing the replay looked as though it should have not counted. He led all players with 15 rebounds, but Drummond’s impact was minimal at best which as the Pistons know better than anyone, isn’t enough for them to win.
Boston completely shut Jackson down as the former Boston College star missing all nine of his shot attempts while tallying just two points on a pair of free throws.