BOSTON – While the mood was noticeably more subdued inside the Celtics’ locker room Monday night, they didn’t seem all that worse for wear after their first double-digit loss of the season, 118-108, to Detroit.
“It’s eighty-two games. It happens, you lose,” said Marcus Morris. “We missed some shots down the stretch. They scored the ball. It happens, you know. I hate losing, but we’re still together. Guys aren’t hanging their heads. It’s all good.”
- Stevens: We didn't quite match the Pistons pace
- Bradley all business in return to Garden
- Smart: Good to get in rhythm but rather have the win
Even with the loss, Boston (18-4) still has the best record in the NBA. And with the next four games at the TD Garden, the Celtics will have ample opportunities to build on what has already been an impressive start to the season.
Here are five takeaways from the loss:
He had 18 points and nine assists, but the Pistons did a really good job of making sure he didn’t keep the ball in his hands for very long, courtesy of timely double-teams and the usual tough defense played by ex-Celtic Avery Bradley. “This one’s eating me a little bit,” Irving said. “I know it was a couple of decisions that could have, when it was a two-point game or a four-point game, turned into a six-point game or eight-point game based on a few empty possessions.”
The Celtics have been the best defense in the NBA for weeks, but you would not have known it by the way they performed collectively on Monday. Along with giving up a season-high 118 points and allowing the Pistons to shoot a season-high 51.8 percent from the field, Boston failed to deliver that game-changing play defensively to swing the game’s tide in its favor. It was an odd sight to not see from a team that has been all about the signature play defensively which catapults them to victory.
Boston has been among the league leaders in fewest turnovers made per game. However, that didn’t do the Celtics a lot of good against a Detroit team that did more than force Boston into more turnovers than usual. Those mistakes became a sizable chunk of the Detroit offense, which used Boston’s 17 turnovers to generate 26 points
There’s no way to know if the outcome would've been different if the Celtics had done a better job of making free throws. Boston shot just 57.1 percent from the free throw line (12-for-21). It certainly played a role in the loss.
For the second straight game, Marcus Smart had an extremely efficient game at both ends of the floor. He had 23 points on 8-for-13 shooting. On Saturday against Indiana, Smart had 15 points on 7-for-8 shooting. For him to see a few shots go down, is huge. He has been among the worst shooters not just on the Celtics roster, but in the NBA this season. So, for him to put together a couple of strong shooting nights, bodes well for him going forward and maybe most important, gives the Celtics another player that foes have to be worried about getting hot from the field.