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10 takeaways from Celtics 122-120 win over Pistons

This was a close one all the way, but the Boston Celtics walked away with a 122-120 victory over the Detroit Pistons thanks to a last-second 2-pointer by Jayson Tatum. Here are my 10 takeaways:

Jaylen Brown seems headed for his first All-Star appearance

Jaylen poured in 31 points in the game on an exquisite 13-of-16 from the field and 5-of-8 on treys. Brown has quietly transformed into one of the top 2-way players in the League. Previously known largely for his defense, his offensive arsenal now includes 3-pointers, mid-range shots and  successful drives. His is a strong finisher at the rim, and his handles have improved significantly. He has become a star in the NBA.

Stevens' Triple-T, Twin Tower lineup experiment continues

Both Tristan Thompson and Daniel Theis started the game and finished it. They combined for 27 points on 12-for-18 shooting, along with 15 rebounds. I broached playing the two centers together back in November as an experiment. The results remain incomplete, but I liked what I saw last night.

Jayson Tatum's 12 assists were long-awaited - and vital

Despite his 24 points and eight boards last night, it was his 12 dimes that mattered. Jayson was looking to pass, and he did a masterful job doing it. Tatum continually looked to set up Theis, and it worked. One of the keys for Boston going forward is to get the bigs more-involved in the offense. 

Celtics need to get physical and not rely solely on jumpers

Boston had ZERO free throw attempts in the first half and finished the game with a mere 13 FT attempts to Detroit's 25. This game was much-closer than it needed to be. Relying on last-second jump shots by Tatum or Brown to win games versus weaker opponents can't keep happening.

Payton's Pace is one speed - FAST

Payton Pritchard is seeing a lot of minutes for a rookie in Brad Stevens' system. Payton never slows down. He was on the floor for a total of 28 minutes with a line of five points, four rebounds, four assists, one steal, one block and a team-high plus/minus of +7. He doesn't often look for his shot - not yet- but when he does, we can expect some significant help for the offense from him.

Smart as point guard may be asking too much of him

Marcus had a fine outing against Detroit, coming away with a double-double (17 points, 10 assists). I feel that Marcus-at-the-point takes away from his effectiveness as a main inside and perimeter defender. For the post-season, either Kemba Walker needs to be back at full health, or an alternative needs to be found.

Stevens continues to have faith in Semi Ojeleye

And Semi continues to make it difficult for Danny Ainge to trade him. He came through last night, taking the floor for 22 minutes, some of those in crunch time - scoring 11 points on 4-of-7 from the field and 3-of-6 from beyond the arc. Fluke or not, we can expect more time for Ojeleye as part of the rotation.

We have a true closer in Jayson Tatum

A legit closer for any NBA team not only NEEDS the ball in crunch time - they DEMAND it - just as Larry Bird and Paul Pierce did in the their stints in Boston. Jayson is foremost a shooter - always has been. And he looks like the Celtics first option when a game is on the line. Although, admittedly, Jaylen Brown is not a bad 1-A choice.

Tristan Thompson is an aggressive rebounder

It is not just the fact that Tristan took down 11 boards last night. As always, he fights for them. In his mind, every carom belongs to him. That is desire and toughness. Great to see.

The DNP-CDs are piling up for the subs

Carsen Edwards, Tacko Fall, Aaron Nesmith, Tremont Waters - and even Grant Williams - never made it into the game last night. It appears that Brad Stevens' early-season rotation is in the process of becoming somewhat fixed. The mystery man remains Nesmith. Pritchard, on the other hand, is a pleasant surprise. He is already a fixture. Who knew?



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