The Boston Celtics crumbled at the hands of the Detroit Pistons in a 116-103 loss as Orlando Magic's Markelle Fultz holds off a late Lakers comeback to enjoy a 119-118 victory.
NBA fans were left stunned last night as two of the top teams in the league fell victim to lower league teams despite big performances all over the court.
Markelle Fultz, in particular, put on an MVP-level show, recording his second career triple-double in the Magic/Lakers battle. Orlando's 21-year-old guard walked out of the Staples Centre last night with a satisfied smile plastered across his face after an explosive tirade saw him pull in 21 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists.
Fultz, a third-year vet, was given up by the Philadelphia 76ers last season after severe nerve damage in his neck compromised his jump shot and knocked his confidence. But, speaking in a post-game interview with ESPN, the 2017 NBA Draft number one pick said:
"What I've been through, it just gives me more fire to keep going, I put in a lot of hard work to be where I'm at. I've been through a lot, but I never gave up. So, it just shows for people out there, whoever is doubting you, whoever is doing something [to you], put something on your mind and if you have something on your mind, go do it."
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The Lakers managed to charge up their offence late in the game to storm back from a 21-point deficit, and even grasped a four-point lead halfway through the final quarter, but couldn't keep control when Fultz went to work. He sank six points on 3-for-4 shooting and put up four assists with the final minutes draining away - this included two difficult layups in traffic in the final 60 seconds.
Lakers guard Quinn Cook hit the game-high 22 points, shooting 64.3% from the field, and added four rebounds and one assist in 25 minutes on court. King James tallied 19 points and a monumental 19 assists - a game-high, but it was Fultz who demonstrated a faultless all-round performance as the only Magic point guard on the court.
Pistons 116, Celtics 103
Over in Boston, the atmosphere wasn't as tense as a sidelined Jayson Tatum foreshadowed the dismal loss for one of the top in the league. The Pistons outshot Boston in three quarters and by the end of the third, closed by Detroit's Svi Mykhailiuk beyond half-court bank shot just shy of the buzzer, fans seemed pretty certain of the disappointing outcome.
The Celtics (27-12) have been one of the league's strongest teams all season but in a bizarre turn of events, they were bombarded by a fiery Pistons offence categorised by relentless shots. Detroit shot at 60.3% from the field and 37.5 from beyond the arc, whilst Boston came in at 49.4% and 32.1% respectively.
Despite the disappointing outcome, Boston's Gordon Hayward enjoyed a good performance with a game-high 25 points, on 11-for-15 of shooting, and seven rebounds. With Tatum out, Hayward needed to step up his shot to compensate, and he did with some big buckets that kept the Celtics in the game for the most part.
Sekou Doumbouya and Mykhailiuk had career bests last night with 24 and 21 points, respectively, whilst Derrick Rose tallied 22 on a consistent 11-for-13 on shooting. Markieff Morris sank 23 points off the bench, and Andre Drummond landed a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds
Boston fell apart defensively which became their undoing last night as they walked off the court with a disappointing 2-4 record for their past six games. However, the Pistons can't get ahead of themselves as this marks only their fourth win in the past 16 games.News Now - Sport News