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Celtics strong out of the break, rout Pistons 110-98
By NOAH TRISTER
DETROIT (AP) Daniel Theis did his part to add to Germany's big day.
The Boston rookie scored a career-high 19 points to lift the Celtics to a 110-98 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Friday night. Afterward, Theis tried to bring some attention to a surprising Olympic victory for his native country.
"It's a good day for me. Germany beat Canada in hockey, we won here, so I'm happy," Theis said. "When I was at breakfast and (assistant coach) Scott Morrison walked in, I was just smiling, because he's from Canada."
Germany advanced to the Olympic title game with that victory , giving Theis some bragging rights before he even took the court against Detroit. Then the 6-foot-8 forward shot 8 of 10 from the field and had seven rebounds.
The Celtics, who went into the All-Star break on a three-game losing streak, returned with a solid win on the road. Boston took control by outscoring the Pistons 38-21 in the second quarter.
"I thought in the first quarter we looked a little slow reacting in transition," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. "But after that, I thought we were pretty good. Bench was great all night on both ends."
Boston pulled within one game of Toronto for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
Blake Griffin scored 17 points for Detroit but shot just 5 of 19 from the field.
Theis eclipsed his previous career high of 12 points. He played an important role after Aron Baynes, the starting center for the Celtics, went to the locker room in the first half with a left elbow injury. Baynes played only 2:39.
Ish Smith made his first eight shots and finished with 20 points for the Pistons. Detroit led 39-37 in the second quarter before a 21-5 run by Boston. The Celtics were ahead 61-49 at halftime.
The lead was only four late in the third before Boston scored seven straight points - five by Irving. The Celtics broke the game open at the start of the fourth, pushing the lead to 20.
"I thought we were really good in the first quarter, and then we got ourselves back into it in the third, but we had one stretch where we had three wide-open 3s in about 30 seconds - (Reggie) Bullock had two on one possession - and we couldn't knock any of them down," Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy said. "Those are the stretches that kill comebacks."
Celtics: Boston's bench outscored Detroit's 65-21. ... Tatum was 4 of 4 from the field in the first half. ... Stevens said Baynes has not been ruled out for Saturday night's game at New York.
Pistons: Andre Drummond had 15 points and 17 rebounds. Detroit shot 10 of 33 from 3-point range.
Boston's Marcus Smart returned from an injury in which he cut his hand on glass at the team hotel in Los Angeles in late January. He scored 12 points.
"Before the game, I was actually a little nervous. It felt like my first game of my NBA career," Smart said. "It felt good to be back out there with the team."
The Pistons remained 1 1/2 games behind Miami for the final playoff spot in the East.
"Everyone had high hopes for us coming out of the break, but we didn't live up to them tonight," Drummond said. "We've got to go to practice tomorrow and figure out what is going on, because we have a lot of games coming up."
Celtics: Visit the Knicks on Saturday night.
Pistons: Visit the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday.
More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball
Follow Noah Trister at www.Twitter.com/noahtrister
Updated February 23, 2018