BOSTON (CBS) -- After watching the Detroit Pistons light up the scoreboard at the TD Garden on Wednesday night, Celtics forward Jae Crowder knows something needs to change on the defensive end.
The C's suffered a 121-114 loss to Detroit, the third time they've allowed an opponent to score at least 120 points in their eight losses. The Pistons scored at will, shooting at a 55 percent clip for the game, and their balanced attack resulted in four of their starting five scoring 20 or more. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led the way with 25 points off 10-for-17 shooting, while Ish Smith couldn't miss, netting 19 points off 9-for-12 shooting.
The Celtics have allowed a disgusting 114.3 points per game in their losses this season.
"I think we have to get a little more nastier on the defensive end," a dejected Crowder said after the game. "Not let a team come in and get comfortable. It's not been an ongoing thing; it happened today and it happened a couple games but, for the most part, we've been trying to impose our will first. That's what our mindset is and that's the mindset going forward."
The Pistons had no issues getting comfortable Wednesday night, scoring 31 points in the first quarter. That onslaught continued with a 28-point second quarter, and they already had 92 points on the scoreboard through 36 minutes of play.
As they usually do, the Celtics fought until the bitter end. They took a one-point lead in the fourth quarter thanks to an 11-0 run, but the defense quickly faltered and let Detroit answer with a 9-0 run of their own. They never relinquished their lead over the final five minutes of the game. The Celtics kept it close but the lead never dropped below four, which seemed (and proved to be) insurmountable for Boston.
With Al Horford and Crowder returning to the lineup the Celtics had won seven of their last 10 entering Wednesday night's game. It was a stretch in which they appeared to right the ship on the defensive end, holding opponents to 96.7 points per contest on 43 percent shooting. But Boston's early-season defensive woes returned Wednesday night, and big offensive nights from Isaiah Thomas (27 points) and Kelly Olynyk (19 points in 23 minutes off the bench) weren't enough. It's hard to beat any team when they pull down 20 additional rebounds, as Boston was out-boarded 58-38. Andre Drummond has 17 of those, including eight offensive rebounds.
The fact they turned the ball over just six times helped the Celtics keep it close. But in the end, Boston needed a little more grit and fervor on the defensive end, a deficiency that's happened all too often a quarter of the way into the season.
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