Tonight’s game between the Boston Celtics and the Detroit Pistons might be a match-up of sub-.500 teams, but as it turns out the Celtics and
Pistons are playing for two different things.
Boston (21-41) has nothing left to play for except pride at this point in the season, although many fans would prefer that the Celtics not even play for that, opting to play for a juicy pick in the upcoming NBA draft. With the Celtics’ win and the Lakers’ loss on Friday, Boston now is tied with Utah for the sixth-worst record in the NBA – that’s not going to get you Jabari Parker, Danny Ainge!
On the other hand, Detroit (24-38) sits only 2.5 games behind Atlanta for the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. If you ask me, 7th-9th place is really a terrible range to find your team in this late in the season, since it amount to “Good enough to make the playoffs, but not good enough to do much of anything else.” I would advise the Pistons to throw in the towel, except for the fact that Detroit was actually in the playoff mix three weeks ago, before it went on a 2-9 tumble that has knocked the team a few rungs down the ladder. The Pistons have given up 107.5 points per game over that 11-game stretch, but the team feels like it is just a few fixes away from gaining some positive momentum and working its way back into the top 8 in the East.
Even if Detroit isn’t good enough to make much of a run in this year’s NBA Playoffs, Josh Smith provides a valid explanation for his team’s desire to qualify for the postseason:
There are a lot of young guys and a lot of players on this team that haven’t been able to experience the postseason. They won’t understand it until they get in and they get that feeling. That’s when that addiction starts to creep in.
I can understand Smith’s point – once the young studs on Detroit get a taste of the playoffs, if should inspire them to work harder to make it next season. That would be the same attitude I would want the Boston Celtics to have . . . next year, after the Cs draft Parker, or Julius Randle, or . . . you get the idea.
In case you’re keeping score, Detroit has won both of its match-ups against Boston so far this season. Neither of those games involved Rajon Rondo, so we’ll see if Rondo is enough to get Boston over the top tonight.
The game is set to tip-off at 6 p.m., and you can catch the action on NBA TV, if you get that crazy channel. Check back in with us throughout the day, and after the game for our post game thoughts!