EditorsNote: adds quote two grafs above notes
Drummond, Pistons overpower Celtics
BOSTON — A big man can’t do much more than Andre Drummond did for the Detroit Pistons on Monday night.
“It might be the best game he’s played overall at both ends of the floor since I’ve been there,” Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy said.
Drummond had season highs of 26 points and 22 rebounds and added six assists and four steals to help the Pistons to 118-108 victory over the Boston Celtics in a battle of teams with the two top records in the Eastern Conference.
“I probably agree with that,” Drummond said of his coach’s assessment. “Tonight was just a great night overall for all of us. I think for me, this being a hometown game for me, having a lot of family and friends here, these guys being No. 1, it picked up everybody’s intensity.
“We really wanted to beat these guys. We gave them our best shot and came out with a great win.”
Detroit guard Ish Smith said, “Andre was unbelievable tonight. He was special. ... I’m not even good at 2K (video game), but I guarantee if I play 2K with him I cannot get those numbers. He was special tonight.”
Tobias Harris, suddenly an offensive force, scored 31 points, and the Pistons (13-6) went on a late 13-3 run to put the game away. The result spoiled the start of Boston’s five-game homestand and ended the Celtics’ eight-game home winning streak.
This was an entertaining game that had fans thinking a playoff series between the teams might be fun. The clubs are a combined 31-10.
“I think if you look across the league, they’ve been a tough matchup for a lot of teams,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “They’re well-coached, they run good stuff, I love what they’re doing.
“Drummond has greatly improved as a playmaker out of the high post, which is a big difference from what he’s done in the past. Tobias Harris’ improvement has been tremendous.”
It was the first meeting of the teams since the Celtics sent Avery Bradley to Detroit along with a second-round pick in exchange for Marcus Morris during the offseason. Bradley, welcomed back by the TD Garden crowd, and Morris both scored 13 points. Bradley added five assists.
Bradley, who guarded Kyrie Irving most of the night and drew praise from his coach, said, “I think it was a great experience for me, being able to come back to a place I call my second home, and to be able to get the win but most importantly the way that we played tonight. Man, we were just able to move the ball around on the offensive end and get consistent stops.”
For Drummond, it was his fourth time he had 22-plus rebounds in 10 career games in the building.
He was also given the task of hassling Irving, who was just 6 of 16 from the floor and 1 of 6 from 3-point range while turning the ball over six times. Irving finished with 18 points.
“They gave me a job. They gave me a job to make Kyrie Irving as uncomfortable as possible,” Drummond said.
Detroit guard Reggie Jackson, who played at Boston College, had 20 points and seven assists.
The 118 points were easily the most allowed this season by the Celtics (18-4). They gave up 60 in the first half, also a season high.
“This is one of those nights,” Drummond said. “I just played with a lot of energy. This is a great team; we got the best of them tonight.”
Boston’s Marcus Smart, who entered the game shooting 29.1 percent from the floor and 25 percent from 3-point range, scored a season-high 23 points and went 6-for-9 from 3-point range. He also had six assists.
“Marcus Smart was like Kyle Korver out there tonight,” Van Gundy said. “He banked one in and then he hit one from about 30 feet. I mean, (Smart was) 6-for-9 (from 3-point range), they make 16 threes, so it wasn’t an off night for the Boston Celtics.”
Daniel Theis added 12 points off the Boston bench, and Jayson Tatum had 10 points and four assists.
NOTES: G Avery Bradley received a video tribute and a noisy reception in his first return with the Pistons — he big board showing “Thank You, Avery.” Bradley said after the game, “It meant a lot to me.” Before the game, Celtics coach Brad Stevens said, “He deserves that applause that he’ll get,” and Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy added, “He’s exactly what we expected, which is good because we expected a lot.” ... Earlier in the day, Bradley, asked if he sees Detroit as his landing spot in his upcoming free agency, told reporters, “I can’t answer that question now. We’ll see as the year goes on and once that time comes I’ll worry about it. But right now I’m just focusing on basketball.” ... Boston Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski was at the game. ... The Pistons host the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday. The Celtics continue their homestand against the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday.