By Jimmy Golen
BOSTON (AP) — Andre Drummond scored 26 points with 22 rebounds — both season highs — and Tobias Harris scored 31 to lead the Detroit Pistons to a 118-108 victory on Monday night and send the Celtics to their first loss in Boston since their home opener.
Drummond had 10 rebounds in the first quarter and 11 points in the last 5:36 to help Detroit win the matchup of old-school rivals who are once again the top teams in the Eastern Conference. Reggie Jackson scored 20 points with seven assists for the Pistons, who have won three of their last four.
Marcus Smart scored 23 points, making 6 of 9 from 3-point range, and Kyrie Irving had 18 with nine assists for the Celtics. Boston has lost two of four since a 16-game winning streak.
Detroit led by 11 points in the first quarter, but it was tied 100-all with 5:36 left before the Pistons pulled away thanks to eight straight points from Drummond. With just over three minutes left, the Pistons center stole a lazy inbound pass at midcourt and drove for the dunk, drawing a foul from Irving.
The three-point play made it 109-102.
It was 114-108 when Smart’s long, leaning 3-point attempt rimmed out with 34 seconds left.
The Celtics fell behind 16-6 in the opening minutes, continuing a trend of early deficits. Detroit led 31-23 after the first quarter, but Boston scored the first eight points of the second to tie it.
A seven-point Detroit lead in the third quarter was quickly erased, but then the Pistons responded with eight straight points and the Celtics matched that, too.
Already wearing a mask because of a broken bone in his face, Irving had to check in with the trainer in the game’s opening minutes after getting hit in the mouth. He did not need to come out of the game.
Drummond added six assists and four steals. He’s the first player with that many points, rebounds, assists and steals since Charles Barkley on Jan. 20, 1990, according to NBA.com. … Avery Bradley, who played seven seasons in Boston before being traded to open cap space for Gordon Hayward, received a standing ovation when a video tribute was played during the pregame introductions. … Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski sat courtside. … The 118 points allowed was a season high for the Celtics. … Bradley was 4 for 12 after hitting his first three shots.
Pistons: Host Phoenix on Wednesday night.
Celtics: Host Philadelphia on Thursday night.
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