How the game was won: Nate Robinson came off the bench to score 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting to highlight a tremendous effort from the Boston reserves, who totaled 39 points to carry the Green. Rajon Rondo added his typical double-double (15 points, 11 assists), while Kevin Garnett chipped in 14 points and 9 rebounds. Paul Pierce scored nine points on 2-of-6 shooting over 29 minutes in his first game back after a three-game absence (sprained right thumb).
Turning point: Trailing to start the fourth quarter, Robinson sparked a 13-2 run with a trio of 3-pointers to turn a four-point deficit into an 89-81 advantage with 7:05 to play. Glen Davis scored six points over the first four minutes of the quarter to help Boston pull ahead.
Stat of the game: Despite taking some ill-advised triples late in the game, the Celtics connected on 9 of 18 3-pointers, including 4-of-5 shooting for Robinson. (Who needs Eddie House?) The Pistons were a dismal 3 of 20 (15 percent) behind the arc, connecting on two late 3-pointers to prevent that number from being even worse.
Unsung hero: Used sparingly since the middle of January, forward Shelden Williams logged 14 quality minutes with Boston short-handed without center Kendrick Perkins (flu). Williams made 3-of-4 shots for six points and added four rebounds (two offensive).
What it means: An ugly win is better than a loss, right? Boston’s bench bailed out the starters yet again, helping the team rally from a fourth-quarter deficit and escape with a much-needed triumph. The Celtics can be thankful they were playing a bad team as they were not crisp and allowed Detroit to hang around after not delivering a knockout blow while building an eight-point lead in the third quarter. It will be interesting to see what Boston’s energy level is like playing the second night of a back-to-back against the athletic Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday at the Garden.