Paul Flannery isn't the first to make this comparison, but he makes the point very eloquently here:
DOES THIS TEAM REMIND YOU OF ANOTHER? Yes, and it’s not necessarily a compliment. In terms of temperament, experience and even approach, the Celtics bear an uncanny resemblance to the Detroit Pistons, circa 2005-08. Like those Pistons teams, the Celtics have a championship in their back pocket. Like those Pistons teams, the Celtics believe they have uncovered the secret to winning games with their defense. And like those Pistons teams, the Celtics sometimes believe they can summon those qualities at will.
Well put. Of course I have some additional scattered thoughts....
Everyone has talked about how great Sheed is in the locker room, and I don't doubt it. But you have to wonder if there's any correlation related to the fact that he's the common denominator of the two teams. Not that you can blame one man for a team's general lack of killer instinct. And on the flipside, you can't count on one person (Kevin Garnett) to suddenly turn everyone into pit bulls overnight.
I think that whatever swagger-bug that bit the Pistons after their title has bitten the Celtics. They know they can do it and they know they've been to the top of the mountain before, and sometimes that makes you that much less hungry. When the Big 3 first came together, they had laser-sharp focus and were all-in from day one. Now, they talk the same talk but don't always walk the same walk (in part because they are too often walking with a limp).
It doesn't help that all the talk this year (starting in training camp) has been about preserving the vets and keeping minutes down. On one hand, I'd rather this team suffer from a lack of killer instinct in January than showing up for the playoffs totally burnt out. On the other hand, I sure hope the team really can flip the switch come playoff time. The Pistons could never do it and the Celtics aren't getting any younger.
Of course there is still plenty of time to get focused. We've got half a season left actually. In that time, they can get healthy, learn how to play together the right way, and carry that momentum into the playoffs. This stretch of games against the Magic, Lakers, and Hawks would be a great chance to get started down that road.
I'm just saying that there's a danger that the team could continue to run hot and cold and eventually form bad habits that aren't fixed before the postseason begins.