By The Sports Xchange | Box Score
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Jaylen Brown realizes that perimeter shooting is not his strong suit.
“I’m not a guy that’s going to shoot 10 3s a game,” he said.
The Boston Celtics do need their rookie shooting guard to at least become a threat from long range. With his team down one in the final minute, Brown didn’t hesitate to take a 3-pointer right in front of his bench.
Brown nailed the corner shot off an Al Horford feed and the Celtics topped the Detroit Pistons 104-98 on Sunday at The Palace.
“He put it up because it’s the right thing to do at that time,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “Doesn’t matter when the moment is. Doesn’t matter if it’s the first quarter or the fourth quarter. If you’re open on a catch-and-shoot shot, and somebody made a play for you, you have to shoot it.”
That was Brown’s only basket of the second half. He finished with 13 points.
“I’ve taken thousands of shots in the corner,” said Brown, who has made 33.3 percent of his 3-point attempts. “It’s all mental. When it comes down to it, just be ready, wait for your opportunity and just execute.”
Brown was fouled on the play and missed the free throw, but it turned into a five-point possession. Marcus Smart was fouled fighting for the rebound and made both free throws with 37.3 seconds left, giving the Celtics a 100-96 lead. The Pistons never recovered.
Isaiah Thomas scored 33 points, extending his franchise record for consecutive 20-point games to 43, but was 1 of 7 from the field in the fourth quarter.
“IT, he’s hauling the big load,” Brown said. “He’s putting up 29 or 30 points a night. He can’t do it all by himself. We’ve got to make plays, score, defend at a high level and cover his back. That’s what we did tonight.”
Jae Crowder collected 14 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, and Smart had 14 points and five rebounds for Boston (38-21). Brown and Terry Rozier added 13 points apiece for the Celtics.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led the Pistons (28-31) with 18 points. Andre Drummond supplied 17 points and 15 rebounds but missed 10 of 11 free throws. Detroit made just 16 of 35 free throws, got outrebounded 52-45 and committed 17 turnovers.
“I thought that was a big point of why we lost tonight’s game — the free throws, the turnovers and the rebounds,” Pistons forward Tobias Harris said. “That’s the name of the game right there, those three things.”
The Pistons are 7-19 when they lose the rebounding battle.
“They have a lot of guys on their perimeter that come running in to get rebounds,” Harris said. “They were scrappy and they showed a lot of toughness in that aspect of the game. They were able to get a lot of boards, tip-ins, stuff like that.”
Reggie Jackson added 17 points and six assists, and Marcus Morris contributed 16 points and 10 rebounds for Detroit.
Jackson took a quick 3-point attempt and missed before Brown’s go-ahead shot.
The Celtics led 54-50 at halftime, then opened the second half on a 13-2 run.
Detroit responded with 11 consecutive points to get the deficit to four. That was as close as the Pistons came in the quarter, but they trailed just 79-74 entering the fourth.
Jackson’s 3-pointer with 3:58 remaining knotted the score once again. Caldwell-Pope gave the Pistons the lead with 2:53 left on three free throws and made it 96-94 with a 3-pointer after a Smart putback.
Detroit missed five of their last six shots from the field and two free throw tries after Caldwell-Pope’s 3-pointer. Caldwell-Pope misfired on a 3-point try after Boston’s five-point possession and the Celtics made four of six free throws to clinch the win.
NOTES: Boston SG Avery Bradley missed his 22nd game with a sore right Achilles but should return “any day now,” according to coach Brad Stevens. The Celtics, who were also missing SG Gerald Green (bruised heel), have a home game against the Atlanta Hawks on Monday. … The Pistons retired the jersey of Richard Hamilton, the leading scorer on the 2003-04 championship team, during a halftime ceremony. … Boston won the season series 3-1. … The Pistons have two victories this month in which they trailed by at least 15 points in the fourth quarter. The last team to do that in the same month was the 1969-70 Cincinnati Royals. … Pistons C Andre Drummond posted his 39th double-double. … Rookie PF Henry Ellenson and SG Michael Gbinije were inactive for Detroit.