BOSTON — Jared Sullinger caught fire at the right time on Wednesday night.
The forward, who had four points in regulation, scored 10 in overtime as his Boston Celtics ended a pair of their own losing streaks and handed the Detroit Pistons their 10th loss in a row — a 109-102 victory.
The Celtics, as they have done so many times already this season, blew a 12-point lead in the final 4:22 of regulation but then opened the overtime with an 8-0 burst and hung on — ending Boston’s four-game overall losing streak its six-game slide at home.
Boston (5-11) led by nine in the OT, but the Pistons, reaching 100 points for the second time this season, whittled it down to three with 19.2 seconds remaining.
Guard Rajon Rondo, who had a tough night, set up Sullinger for a 3-pointer, then stripped forward Greg Monroe at the other end and fed forward Jeff Green for a 3-pointer to start the OT.
Monroe went on a personal 11-2 run to bring the Pistons (3-16) back and forward Caron Butler hit a 3-pointer with 14.1 seconds left in regulation to force extra time.
The Celtics, who didn’t have a field goal for the final 4:54 of regulation, then struck quickly.
Boston went on a 14-6 run to start the fourth quarter, breaking open the stumbling battle of two of the NBA’s worst. They led by 12 when Green hit a 3-pointer with 4:54 left, but couldn’t hold it.
Green, 6 of 10 from 3-point range, finished with 32 points, 14 in the final 10 minutes of play. Forward Kelly Olynyk came off the bench with 20 points and seven rebounds, Sullinger had 14 points and eight rebounds and center Tyler Zeller eight points and 10 boards. Rondo had just two points, dishing out eight assists. Backup Phil Pressey contributed, with seven points, four assists and three rebounds in 18 minutes.
Monroe, coming off the bench, had 29 points and seven rebounds, while center Andre Drummond posted 27 points and 14 rebounds. Forward Josh Smith had 12 points and 11 rebounds, but fouled out with 6:47 left and was 4 of 15 from the floor. Guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 15 points.
As they so often do, the Celtics jumped out to an early lead, this tome going up 18-8 6:48 into the game. But the Pistons then reeled off 13 straight points, the first six by Monroe, who had just come off the bench.
The Celtics, down by four, went on an 11-0 run in the second quarter to grab a seven-point lead. But Detroit scored eight points in 50 seconds to grab the halftime lead.
The third quarter went back and forth and Pressey came off the bench midway through the period and led his team to a three-point lead after three.
NOTES: Celtics rookie G Marcus Smart, who suffered a sprained ankle on Nov. 7, returned after a 10-game absence, coming off the bench. “I think we need what he brings on a normal basis, so hopefully he’s able to do that,” coach Brad Stevens said. Smart said he wasn’t at full strength but was ready to try it. … Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy publicly challenged his team for the first time after Tuesday night’s loss. Asked about it before Wednesday’s game, he said, “It’s a long season and I didn’t really challenge anybody, I just stated what I see as facts. I didn’t really challenge anybody.” … The Celtics host Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night. The Pistons host the winless Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night. … The Pistons came into Wednesday night’s game 28th in the NBA in scoring and the Celtics were 28th on defense. Detroit had scored 100 points only once.
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