DETROIT (AP) — Jayson Tatum started slow and finished strong with 34 points, 11 rebounds and six assists, leading the Boston Celtics to a 111-99 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Monday night.
The All-Star forward missed his first five shots and had as many fouls (three) as field goals after missing 10 shots in the first half. Tatum made three 3-pointers and an array of driving layups in the third, scoring 18 points in the quarter to turn a seven-point halftime lead into a 18-point cushion.
With Tatum on the bench, Detroit rallied to pull within seven points midway through the fourth quarter. Seconds after entering the game, the All-NBA player promptly set up Robert Williams for a dunk on his fourth assist to help stunt the potential comeback.
Celtics guard Jaylen Brown, who averages 27 points, missed the game with a non-COVID illness. Sam Hauser filled in, making his first start in two seasons, and had five 3-pointers in the first half when he scored all of his 15 points.
Boston reserves Marcus Smart and Luke Kornet (left ankle) missed the game with ankle injuries.
Derrick White had 23 points, and reserve Malcolm Brogdon and Williams scored 15 points apiece for the Celtics, who lost four of their previous six games.
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 21 for the Pistons, who have won just one-fourth of their games and are likely vying with Houston and Charlotte for the No. 1 pick and a chance to select 7-foot-3 French phenom Victor Wembanyama.
Detroit rookies Jaden Ivey had 14 points and five assists, while Jalen Duren scored seven points and grabbed 14 rebounds. Killian Hayes scored 17 points and fellow reserve Saddiq Bey added 14 for the Pistons, who have lost eight of their last 10 games.
Celtics: The 24-year-old Tatum is the youngest player in team history to be a four-time All-Star. … Hauser’s younger brother, Joey, is a senior forward at Michigan State.
Pistons: The NBA rescheduled Detroit’s home game against Washington to March 7 that was postponed last week when the Pistons were stranded in Dallas due to a winter storm.
Celtics: Host Philadelphia on Wednesday night.
Pistons: Play at Cleveland on Wednesday night.