Three quick observations from Wednesday night’s 116-103 win over the Boston Celtics at TD Garden
GARDEN PARTY – Go figure. Against the NBA’s fourth-ranked defense, the Pistons played perhaps their most complete offensive game of the season and came away with their most unlikely win. Sekou Doumbouya and Svi Mykhailiuk both registered career highs – before the third quarter was up. Four Pistons scored at least 20 points and they shot better than 60 percent for most of the game, finishing at 60.3 percent overall and 37.5 percent from the 3-point arc. Sekou Doumbouya and Svi Mykhailiuk both had career highs – before the third quarter was over. Doumbouya finished with 24 to lead the Pistons and Mykhailiuk with 21, while Derrick Rose scored 22 points – hit shot 11 of 13 and was a perfect 11 of 11 inside the 3-point arc – and Markieff Morris tied his season high with 23 points. The Pistons played one of their best offensive halves of the season in scoring 57 points on 62 percent shooting with five turnovers, leading for most of the first half before a late flurry of offensive rebounds helped Boston to a 59-57 halftime lead. They took the lead for good midway through the third quarter, expanded it to nine by the end of the quarter – Mykhailiuk’s banked half-court triple beat the buzzer – and opened the fourth quarter on a 17-5 run. Andre Drummond finished with 13 points, 13 rebounds and seven of the team’s 30 assists.
RETURN OF KIEFF – Markieff Morris returned to the lineup in Saturday’s loss to Chicago after missing seven games with a sprained foot, but he came back – really came back – at Boston. In his first two games back, a clearly rusty Morris shot just 2 of 19 overall and 1 of 9 from the 3-point line, hitting the 3-pointer late in Monday’s overtime loss to New Orleans. But he came off the bench late in the first quarter and heated up, carrying the second-unit offense when it otherwise sputtered early in the second quarter in scoring 17 first-half points in 12 minutes, adding six in the second half. He hit 6 of 7 first-half shots – his last six consecutively, in fact – including 3 of 4 triples. Combined with the production of Sekou Doumbouya, the Pistons wound up getting 47 points out of their power forward position. Doumbouya hit 10 of 13 shots and Morris 9 of 14.
JACKSON CLOSE – Amid their bleak fortune on the injury front all season, a bit of promising news for the Pistons: Dwane Casey says Reggie Jackson’s return is around the corner. “He’s dunking on everybody,” Casey said when asked about Jackson before tipoff at Boston. “He’s been cleared for basketball activity and practiced the other day. It’s how he responds after those workouts is where he is right now. We’re waiting for him to come in and play and that could be any day now.” Getting their point guard back will take some of the onus off of Bruce Brown, who should get to spend more time filling his lane as the primary perimeter defender and someone Casey counts on to up the team’s energy level, and on Derrick Rose, whose minutes have spiked of late. Rose has twice smashed his previous season high of 31 minutes in playing 36 and 37 over the past eight days in a pair of overtime games. Casey has cautioned in each instance that it can’t continue. Getting Jackson – apart from the Pistons getting back their No. 1 point guard – should have ripple effects that touch the rest of the roster. It could be that Casey made Derrick Rose the starter at Boston on the knowledge that Jackson’s return is imminent and he can then better manage Rose’s minutes.