The Celtics became the first NBA team this season to clinch a playoff spot and gained a tiebreaker against their closest rivals—all in a 90-78 win over the Pistons. Detroit went down 17-3 early, clawed their way back to 78-77 after a Richard Hamilton three following a technical foul on the Celtics' Tony Allen, but then permitted a game-ending 12-1 run by Boston.
The win gives Boston a virtual five-game lead over Detroit in the hunt for playoff home-court advantage, and it was hard-earned; Allen was one of two Celtics to earn a technical foul, and their opponents had another. Kendrick Perkins set a personal mark with 20 rebounds, and Kevin Garnett led all scorers with 31 points. Chauncy Billups and Rasheed Wallace had 23 apiece for Detroit.