Celtics turn tables on Pistons, Oladipo shines

AFP
The Boston Celtics notched a satisfying win in Detroit on Sunday, handing the slumping Pistons their sixth straight NBA defeat just two weeks after losing to them in Boston.
AFP
Reuters

Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo makes a pass against Denver Nuggets forward Trey Lyles (left) and guard Will Burton during the fourth quarter of their NBA game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana, on December 10, 2017. The Pacers won 126-116 in overtime.

The Boston Celtics notched a satisfying win in Detroit on Sunday, handing the slumping Pistons their sixth straight National Basketball Association defeat just two weeks after losing to them in Boston.

Al Horford led the way with 18 points, 9 rebounds and 6assists. Kyrie Irving added 16 points and Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown scored 12 apiece for the Celtics, who held the Pistons to season lows in points scored and field-goal percentage in the 91-81 triumph.

"I wouldn't call it payback," star point guard Irving said. "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."

It was also good to get a win, Irving said, after a tough 3-point loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night.

"We were locked in," said Aron Baynes, who pulled down 13 rebounds for Boston and was primarily responsible for holding Detroit center Andre Drummond to a season-low 6 points.

The Eastern Conference-leading Celtics did have some offensive struggles of their own. They were up by 16 in the fourth quarter when they hit a dry spell and the Pistons closed to within 4.

But Boston scored on four of its next six possessions to rebuild itslead.

"Our offense wasn't as crisp tonight as we wanted it to be but defensively we had a game plan and we stuck with it," Baynes said.

Reuters

Boston Celtics forward Al Horford shoots over Detroit Pistons forward Tobias Harris in the first half of their NBA game at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan, on December 10, 2017. The Celtics won 91-81.

In Indianapolis, Victor Oladipo poured in a career-high 47 points to lead the Pacers to a 126-116 overtime triumph over the Denver Nuggets.

His electrifying performance had chants of "M-V-P" ringing around Bankers Life Fieldhouse, but Oladipo isn't the kind of player to let the admiration go to his head.

"I've got a lot of work to do," he said. "I'm trying to be great. There's no in between, and I can't settle for anything less."

The Pacers scored the last 8 points in regulation to tie it. Oladipo's driving layup sliced the deficit to 114-112 with 55 seconds remaining.

After an Oladipo miss, Thaddeus Young made the put-back basket to tie it at 114-114 with 5.5 seconds left. Denver's Will Barton had a chance to win it but missed at the buzzer.

The Pacers dominated overtime 12-2 — Oladipo delivering 6 points in the extra period.

"The biggest thing in the overtime is we got stops," Oladipo said after the Pacers won their fourth straight. "That's what won the game."

Elsewhere on Sunday, it was: Raptors 102, Kings 87; Timberwolves 97, Mavericks 92; Pelicans 131, 76ers 124; and Knicks 111, Hawks 107.


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