The Celtics made some noise with a five-game winning streak from Jan. 31 - Feb. 7, but have dropped two straight and four of five games since, including an 89-80 loss at Chicago on Thursday. Kevin Garnett had 18 points and 10 rebounds and Rajon Rondo contributed 17 points for the Celtics, who failed to take advantage of a Derrick Rose-less Bulls squad.
"We tied it at 69 and then let up some on offense," said Boston head coach Doc Rivers.
Paul Pierce had 14 points and Ray Allen finished with 12 in defeat. The Celtics are 4-6 away from TD Garden this season and sit four games behind Philadelphia for the top spot in the Atlantic Division. They will also visit Dallas, Oklahoma City and Cleveland on the current road swing.
On the milestone watch, Garnett is 40 points shy of tying Charles Barkley (23,757) for 18th on the NBA's all-time scoring list. He is 63 rebounds short of matching Shaquille O'Neal (13,099) for 12th in rebounding.
Detroit has been playing better basketball as of late with two straight and six of eight wins since a seven-game slide from Jan. 23 - Feb. 1. It recently handed the Sacramento Kings a 114-108 setback on Friday thanks to a season- high 36 points from Rodney Stuckey.
"The thing is, he's playing major minutes. And he's playing both ends and he's not playing spurt basketball," said Detroit head coach Lawrence Frank about Stuckey. "He's been very, very consistent, putting in tremendous effort, energy, passion, his focus. He's really, really engaged. He's done an outstanding job."
The Pistons are 7-10 at The Palace this season and last in the Central Division. Stuckey is averaging 22.8 points in his last five games for Detroit, which has split a pair of games with Boston already this season. The Pistons dropped a 96-85 decision on Dec. 30 at Boston before a 98-88 win on Wednesday from Beantown.
Boston has won 11 of the last 15 meetings in this series, but has lost nine of 14 and 12 of its last 18 visits to Auburn Hills.