Detroit's Josh Smith has been on a scoring tear of late for the Detroit Pistons. So, it only made sense for the Pistons to try and get him going early against the Celtics.

He tried to back Jeff Green down into the post in the game's early moments.

That didn't work.

Smith later tried to knock down a jumper in Green's face.

No luck their, either.

Green's defense was strong in the first quarter, forcing Smith to miss five of his first seven shots.

As the game wore on, Green's defense - much like the Celtics' overall play - steadily declined as the Pistons edged Boston 107-106.

"That's a tough one to swallow," said Brandon Bass of the loss.

Especially for Green, who has been on a nice run of late defensively.

While Green is nowhere close to being a lock-down defender, there's no mistaking his progress defensively has been a key in Boston's improved play overall, Wednesday's loss withstanding.

"When I'm not doing offensively good, I focus on what I can do on the defensive end," Green said.

Despite coming into the NBA from Georgetown where he was named the Big East's Defensive Player of the Year, Green's defense has been an up-and-down affair.