Feb. 19, 2012; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Boston Celtics small forward Paul Pierce (34) is defended by Detroit Pistons point guard Rodney Stuckey (3) in the fourth quarter at The Palace. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE
After blowing out the Toronto Raptors yesterday, the Celtics now take on the 1-9 Detroit Pistons. Detroit’s only victory so far this season came from defeating the Andrew Bynum-less Philadelphia 76ers. For Boston, this is a trap game, and they can’t afford to play down to their opponent’s level. Looking at what the Celtics did to Toronto, there may not be any need for concern about a lackluster performance.
The Detroit Pistons are in a rebuilding mode and are still looking for an identity. Having a team with a majority of the players being in the league less than five years, it’s going to take time for the young guys to build up experience, not only individually, but playing as a team. Rookie Andre Drummond has played decent early in his first year. Against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Drummond supplied 22 points and grabbed 8 rebounds in only 21 minutes of play. It will take a while, but once Detroit fully transitions into a new era, Drummond will be the face of the franchise, at least that’s what the Pistons are hoping for.
As always, the Paul Pierce, Tayshaun Prince matchup will be interesting to watch. These two play each other so well and have had great one-on-one battles in recent history. Prince has finished with 12 or more points in the last five games, and I fully expect him to try keeping the game close, or even winning the game for the Pistons. It’s amazing to think, Prince is the last player from the great team the Pistons had when Billups, Rasheed Wallace, Richard Hamilton, and Ben Wallace were still together. Every game I’ve seen since the team dissolved, Prince has never shown a lack of effort, and for that he’s earned my respect.
For the Celtics, they come off of a blowout victory. Kevin Garnett only played 17 minutes which was great in terms of keeping his legs fresh for the second night of a back-to-back. But tonight, the Celtics have to play their starters more, not because of the lack of confidence in the bench,in fact they extended the lead last night, but Boston needs to put Detroit away early. With two days off after tonight, they can afford to have their key players play 30 plus minutes if need be.
Boston can’t take this team lightly though, no matter what their record is. The Pistons have given the Celtics trouble the last few seasons, but injuries might have played a factor. Rebounding is something to keep an eye on, like every game, if the big men box out and grab boards, Boston will come away with the victory. Allowing second chance points have been a problem and has cost the Celtics a few games early in the season.
After tonight, Boston takes on the 8-2 San Antonio Spurs and then after Thanksgiving they face Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Getting a win tonight would give Boston momentum heading into the toughest games so far this season.