Jeff Green poured in a game-high 34 points and notched a critical 3-pointer as the Boston Celtics held on to secure a playoff spot with a 98-93 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night at TD Garden.
Green hit 13-of-19 shots from the floor, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range for the Celtics who ended a two-game skid and, thanks to an 88-83 loss by Philadelphia, are guaranteed to be in the postseason for the sixth-straight season.
Paul Pierce and Brandon Bass each contributed 17 points for Boston with the latter registering a team-high seven rebounds as well. Avery Bradley and Jason Terry each got into the mix as well with 11 and 10 points respectively.
Detroit was paced by Greg Monroe who dropped in 24 points while ripping down 17 rebounds, nine of which came on the offensive glass. Rodney Stuckey added 22 points and Jonas Jerebko tallied 19 as well for the Pistons who have lost four of their last five games.
By pounding the offensive glass, Detroit had a 30-25 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Pistons grabbed eight offensive rebounds, and Monroe netted eight points in the period while Boston fell behind despite shooting 57.9 percent from the floor.
Green got things going for the Celtics to start the second period with a jumper that kicked off a 19-5 run by the Celtics to open the frame. The Pistons went cold from the floor in the quarter and had just five field goals for 14 points as Boston claimed a 54-44 lead at the break.
A Pierce 3-pointer and a Bradley jumper early in the second half had Boston out to a 59-46 advantage. Detroit would cut the lead back to single digits with buckets from Andre Drummond and Kyle Singler.
"We showed some resilience," Jerebko said. "We kept working and kept playing together."
Boston responded with a 15-6 run capped by a layup from Chris Wilcox off an assist from Bradley that gave the Celtics their largest lead of the game, 74-56.
Detroit hung around though and ripped off an 11-0 run to close out the period and go into the fourth trailing just 74-67.
After the Pistons got a reverse layup from Jerebko at the 8:11 mark in the fourth they made it a one-possession game, 81-78. Pierce responded with a turnaround jump shot but Stuckey got two free throws on the other end.
Boston then went on a 6-0 spurt highlighted by a spectacular play from Green who ran the length of the floor after a rebound to put back a miss from Terry.
The Pistons would fight back yet again though and whittled their deficit down to 93-91 with a Stuckey free throw with 1:43 remaining. Both teams missed shots on their next possession before Green rattled in a 3-pointer with 45.3 seconds remaining.
Charlie Villanueva missed a 3-point attempt at the other end and the Pistons were then forced to foul, sending Terry to the line with 9.9 seconds remaining. Terry calmly sank both free throws to seal the victory.
"We made things a little more difficult than they were supposed to be," Pierce said.
Pierce came back after missing Monday's contest due to personal reasons ... Kevin Garnett was out for the seven-straight game for the Celtics with an ankle injury ... Detroit outscored Boston 58-28 in the paint and had 26 second chance points on 25 offensive rebounds...Villanueva had just four points on 2-of-17 shooting.