Celtics lose by one to Pistons. Asik likely coming to Boston.

Boston Celtics guard Jeff Green, right, shoots the ball against Detroit Pistons forward Josh Smith (6) and center Andre Drummond (0) in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Amidst all of the Omer Asik trade rumors, the Celtics were defeated by the Pistons 107-106 at the Garden Wednesday night.  The C’s were once again led by Jared Sullinger who finished the game with 19 points and 8 rebounds.  Detroit’s top player was Brandon Jennings: 28 points, 14 assists, and a couple clutch baskets down the stretch in the fourth.

The Celtics came out aggressive and were able to put 42 points on the board in the first quarter, they’re highest scoring quarter since 1999.  Brandon Bass was playing his ass off, almost as if he knew he was going to be traded tomorrow.  Avery Bradley continued to shoot well, scoring 10 points in the opening quarter.

From there it was all down hill.  After leading by 21 in the first half, Boston was outscored by Detroit 28-18 in the third, a quarter in which they committed five turnovers and continuously settled for jump shots instead of working the ball inside.  In total, the Celtics committed 19 turnovers resulting in 30 points for the Pistons. 

“The bottom line is they outplayed us for 36 minutes out of 48” Brad Stevens said after the game, “We outplayed them for 12 minutes and that wasn’t good enough.”

Despite his 10 first quarter points, Avery Bradley was only able to score four more for the rest of the game.  Jordan Crawford had a disappointing night from three where he was only 1-7. 

The Celtics started to show some life with 2:46 remaining when when a three-point play by Crawford was followed by an impressive defensive sequence in which Bradley stuck with Jennings for about 22 seconds before forcing him into an off-balance jumper.  

On the next possession, Sullinger came through with his second clutch three in three nights  to put the C’s up by one.  Jennings responded with a three of his own and Sullinger went one for two from the line, leaving the Celtics behind 107-106.  Avery Bradley forced Jennings into another miss and gave the Celtics a chance to win the game with 18 seconds remaining.  On what was supposed to be the last play of the game, and may have been the last play of his Celtics career, Brandon Bass dribbled aimlessly with his back to the basket for about 12 seconds before Brad Stevens called a timeout with 5 seconds remaining.  Stevens explained after the game, saying that the ball was eventually supposed to end up in Sullinger’s hands but Detroit was able to deny him the ball.  Anyway, on the actual last play of the game, Jeff Green drove to the hoop but couldn’t finish due to solid defense from Josh Smith.

The Celtics fall to 12-15 but remain one game ahead of the Toronto Raptors for the lead in the Atlantic Division.

In better news, Paul Pierce was 10-12 with 27 points tonight in the Nets’ loss to the Wizards.

 

As for the potential Omer Asik trade, it appears to be a done deal.  The rumor is that Brandon Bass, Courtney Lee, and a first-round draft pick will be sent to Houston in exchange for Asik and it will most likely happen tomorrow. 

I love this trade.  The one thing the Celtics lack right now, and have been lacking pretty much since they traded Kendrick Perkins, is a solid center who can protect the rim.  Asik averaged a double-double last year and was third in the NBA in rebounds per game.  And as well as Bass and Lee have been playing, the Celtics have plenty of depth at the guard and power forward position.  Kris Humphries is actually a more complete player than Bass and should get more playing time as a result of the trade.  Hopefully with Lee gone, Marshon Brooks will get more of a chance to display his talents.  As for the draft pick, I wouldn’t worry about it.  The Celtics have plenty of first round draft picks in the next couple years to build on what is already a solid team. 

Rondo, Bradley, Green, Sullinger, and Asik sounds like a good starting five to me.  Let’s make it happen Danny.     

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