The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Celtics vs. Pistons (Motown Style)

The Celtics absolutely shellacked the Pistons tonight at the Palace in Auburn Hills, and it wasn’t even close.

The Pistons looked like a dangerous 0-3 team on paper after a series of close losses, but ultimately the Celtics outclassed them. A few interesting notes before breaking things down: If you watched the game, you know that Rajon Rondo’s 17 assist night helped him set a record for the first four games of a season, besting the likes of John Stockton and Magic Johnson. Also, the Celtics went 18-18 from the line. I can’t remember the last time a Boston team did that.

Now that Motown song (well, to be fair Boyz II Men is Philly, but they were on Motown records) is applicable because the Celtics come back home for two games tomorrow before a tough four-game road trip. And because hearing the Four Tops in the background in Detroit inspired me, let’s do a Motown recap of tonight’s game.

The Good

It’s the Same Old Song: I know I sound like a broken record, but Rajon Rondo was sensational once again, continuing to tear through the C’s opposition with 17 assists on the evening to obtain that aforementioned record.  And so far this season we have seen that as far as Rondo goes, so goes Kevin Garnett. KG had another 20 point night (22) and was 9-12 from the field. His jumper is still falling, and Rondo is finding him for easy layups and looking for that 20 footer when he drives the lane. This tandem is pushing the Celtics offense to great heights.

One a side note, however, boy does the C’s offense go stagnant when Rondo is out of the game. I can’t say that is a surprise, but there is a reason he is averaging the most minutes on the team this season.

Uptight (Everything’s Alright): Doc Rivers was not pleased with how the Celtics took care of the basketball in their first three games, and he let his voice be heard in that regard.

Message received.

The Celtics had just one turnover in the first 15 minutes of play, and had 41 points. They finished with eight total on the evening, and coincidentally scored a season-high 109 points. The Celtics offense is a thing of beauty when it is running the floor, and keeping the turnovers down let’s the C’s finish on the break. The Celtics just seemed more efficient on offense tonight, and that was because they took care of the ball.

Higher Ground: The Celtics were clearly the better team here, but it’s not like the Pistons are devoid of talent. Still, Boston got the foot on the gas early and dominated this one from the get-g0. Unlike their play against the Cavs in their first road game, the Celtics didn’t let Detroit believe it could hang in there at all.

When you are on a different level than another team, you can’t let something like that happen. The Celtics saw the ramifications of taking a team lightly against the Cavs, and you can be sure that lesson will stick with them.

The Bad

You Keep Me Hangin’ On: Well, the second unit did just that in the fourth quarter. Doc clearly wanted to rest the starters with tomorrow’s game against Milwaukee in mind, but he had to insert them back into the lineup after the Pistons made a little run.

Glen Davis had another double-digit scoring night and played well and Semih Erden had a few moments in his official NBA debut, but other than that there were few bright spots. The problem? I think it lies with Nate Robinson’s inability to shoot the basketball. He is shooting just 21 percent from the field (5 of 24) and has only a single 3-pointer on the year.

Where has Nate’s outside shot gone? I don’t know if it is playing alongside different guys (aka not Delonte West) or less consistent minutes, but Robinson looks a lot like the player we saw at the end of last regular season. Maybe the Celtics will need to keep Von Wafer (who also has not improved) to spell Robinson…

The Ugly

What’s Going On?: With Ben Wallace’s facial hair? With the lack of passion from Detroit? With the fact that new coach John Kuester was playing five forwards at the end of the game?

You could ask a number of questions about this listless Pistons team, but it is still maddening that a team with this type of talent just didn’t show up on its home floor. The cameras cut to a shot of Ben Gordon and Ben Wallace laughing on the sidelines with their team down by 20 points, and it summed things up pretty swiftly. Gordon in particular just didn’t seem to care, as he barely reacted to following out with six minutes left in the game.

Charlie Villanueva was the best player on the court for Detroit, but he seemed to care a lot more about feuding with Garnett than helping his team win. I’d love to say that I see some hope for Detroit with the likes of Austin Daye, who came on strong and got easy looks in the fourth, but I don’t know if I can. What an odd mix of veteran talent that only seems to be regressing (Tayshaun Prince barely had an impact out there and whatever happened to Jason Maxiell) and youngsters who are still too raw to contribute consistently.

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Tags: Ben Gordon Boston Celtics Detroit Pistons Doc Rivers Glen Davis Kevin Garnett Nate Robinson Rajon Rondo Semih Erden

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