Celtics look to get back on track as they visit the Pistons

Tim Fuller-US PRESSWIRE

The Celtics face former Celtics assistant Lawrence Frank and his Pistons for the 2nd of 3 meetings this season.

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Boston Celtics (20-19) at Detroit Pistons (14-25)
Sunday, January 20, 2013
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #40, Road Game #19
TV: CSNNE, FSD, LP 754(C's Feed)/755(Pistons Feed)
Radio: WEEI, 97.1 FM The Ticket
Palace of Auburn Hills
Referees: Monty McCutchen, Gary Zielinski

Game Thread l Chat

Boston Celtics Tickets


The Celtics face former Celtics assistant Lawrence Frank and his Pistons for the 2nd of 3 meetings this season. The Pistons won the series 2-1 last season. The Pistons won the first game between them 103-83 and so the Celtics should be looking to avenge that loss along with getting back on a winning track.

The Celtics have struggled somewhat on the road with a 7-11 record away from the Garden. The Pistons are a slightly better 10-11 at home. Both teams are 6-4 in their last 10 games and both teams have lost their last 2 games. The Celtics last played at home on Friday while the Pistons last played on Thursday in London. We can hope that they still have a bit of jet lag left from the trip.

The Pistons are healthy with no injuries to report. Avery Bradley's x-rays on his ribs were negative. His ribs were still sore this morning but he planned to try to go through the shoot around and is a game time decision for tonight.. If he is unable to go, Doc will probably start Barbosa in his place, although Lee might be the better choice against the 6'8" Kyle Singler. We may get to see Chris Wilcox in this game. He has been cleared for contact and has a couple of practices under his belt now and may get some playing time in this game. He is also still listed as day to day.

The Pistons are one of the teams that the Celtics should beat but they are also a team that they shouldn't take for granted as can be seen by their 20 point win in the first game between these two teams. The Celtics have dropped to one game above .500 again after 2 losses at home and need to get back on track. This would be a good time to do so.

Probable Starters

PGSGSFPFC

Rajon Rondo.... Leandro Barbosa.... Paul Pierce.....Brandon Bass.... Kevin Garnett

Celtics Reserves

Jared Sullinger

Jason Collins

Jeff Green

Courtney Lee

Jason Terry

Injured

Avery Bradley (ribs) Game Time Decision

Chris Wilcox (thumb) day to day


Red Claws

Fab Melo

Key Matchups

vs

Rajon Rondo vs Brandon Knight

Rajon Rondo is the engine that stirs the drink for the Celtics. He is coming off a very devastating loss in which he had his best scoring effort this season. I expect another strong effort from him in this game. Knight has been playing well for the Pistons, averaging 13.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists. He is coming off a sub-par effort against the Knicks with 1 point, 1 rebound and 1 assists and will be looking to step up his game in this one. This should be a good matchup.

vs

Paul Pierce vs Tayshaun Prince

This has been a great matchup over the years, Prince's length can give Pierce problems but Pierce's strength can also give Prince problems. Pierce has been struggling to find his shot in recent games, shooting just 32.7% from the floor in the last three games. Hopefully he can get back on track in this game as Prince always seems to play well against the Celtics.


Honorable Mention

Kevin Garnett vs Greg Monroe

KG has also been struggling in his past 3 games, shooting 31.3% or less in 2 of his last 3 games. He seemed to find his shot again in the second half against the Bulls and hopefully that carries over. In the last meeting between these two teams, Monroe led the Pistons with 20 points and 13 rebounds. KG has to slow Monroe down in this game while at the same time, get his own offense back on track.

Keys to the Game

Defense - It all begins with defense. The Celtics have been winning with defense. When they play lock down defense they are very hard to beat. When they get lax on defense, they struggle all the way around.

Rebound - The Celtics need to be aggressive on the boards. Rebounding is effort and if the Celtics are putting the effort out to grab rebounds then that effort will translate to the other areas of their game. Sully, when he can stay out of foul trouble, has been a big help in this area. But, every Celtic needs to crash the boards. It has to be a team effort.

Bench Play - The Pistons are given the edge in bench play. The Celtics bench has been inconsistent so far this season. Courtney Lee has been turning it around. Jason Terry is still struggling with his shot. Jeff Green has been up and down. Jared Sullinger has been great and getting better with every game but has been a foul magnet. The rookie matchup between Jared Sullinger (6.1 ppg, 6.0 rpg) and Andre Drummond (7.2 ppg, 7.3 rpg) will be a good one to watch. The Celtics need their second unit to come to play in this one.


Focus and Aggressiveness
- It could be easy for the Celtics to let down their guard in this one. But they need to keep their focus and be aggressive. They have to be aggressive in going to the basket and not settle for jumpers. They have to be aggressive on defense and going for loose balls. They have lost easy games in the past because they play down to their opponents. They have to avoid that in this game.

X-Factors

On the Road, focus, and Officiating

The Celtics are on the road but they have to focus on getting the win. After losing 2 in a row at home, they need to focus on getting a win in this game in hostile territory. The Celtics would have won their last game if it wasn't for the refs failing to call the fouls on Pierce and not giving the time out that Rondo called twice before the jump ball was called. With the officiating costing the Celtics that game, they need to play through any bad calls in this one and not let it get down to the last play.

Official Report

Monty McCutchen

Monty McCutchen has officiated 1,138 regular season, 94 playoff, and six Finals games. He worked the 2007 NBA All-Star Game in Las Vegas and was a member of the crews that officiated the 1996 and 1997 Mexico Challenges, as well as the 1998 Schick Rookie Game. Prior to joining the NBA, McCutchen spent four seasons in the CBA, where he worked the All Star game his second year and the playoffs all four years. He also officiated the CBA Finals the last three years he was with the league. McCutchen missed the 1998-99 season with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

He is a former elementary and middle school teacher and is fondly remembered by his students as a really nice guy. In searching for information on him, I found a Cavs' blog that blamed a loss to the Celtics on the officiating of Monty McCutchen. That was the game where Mike Brown was ejected and the Cavs made a furious comeback but fell short. In game 2 of the WCF, McCutchen flipped out on someone and yelled "I'm running this game not you!" as Serge Ibaka went to the line for free throws. Other than that, there's not a lot of controversy about him.

The Celtics are 7-3 in their last 10 games and 1-2 this season with McCutchen on the court. He officiated the Heat game to open the season. Needless to say, he allowed Wade and Battier to grab and shove off and foul all game, which led to Rondo's flagrant on Wade out of frustration. He also called a preseason loss to the Knicks and a win over the Wizards where the Celtics took 34 free throws to 7 by the Wizards. The Pistons are1-1 this season and 3-7 in their last 10 games with McCutchen. His home W/L record this season is 23-7.

Karl Lane

Karl Lane enters his second year having officiated 44 regular season games. Lane’s experience includes four seasons and 167 games officiated in the D-League. He also has four seasons of NBA preseason game experience and has worked in NBA summer camps for six years. In addition to his professional experience, Lane officiated collegiate games for nine years in the SWAC and Gulf South Conference and has nine years of high school officiating experience. Lane worked for the Pulaski County Special School District in Little Rock, AR as an In‐School Suspension Teacher for 2 years before beginning his career as a referee.

This is his 5th game officiating for the Celtics. The Celtics are 4-1 in those games. In the last game last season vs the Cavaliers, Lane got under Tommy's skin a bit and after 3 bad calls in a row, Tommy said "This guy doesn't have a clue. His name's Lane. They should show him the highway." Lane called one game this season, a loss to Brooklyn in the preseason. This is his sixth game for the Pistons and they are 3-3 in those games. They are 1-0 with Lane this season. His home W/L record this season is 16-7.

Gary Zielinski

Gary Zielinski has officiated 668 regular season games and nine Playoff games. In addition to his 11 seasons in the NBA, Zielinski officiated for seven seasons in the CBA and four in the WNBA. Zielinski worked the CBA Finals from 1997-2000, the CBA All-Star Game in 1995 and the WNBA Finals from 1998-2001.

The Celtics are 0-2 this season with Zielinski in the court. One loss was the first game vs the Pistons who shot 26 free throws to 19 for the Celtics. He also called the loss at Golden State where the Celtics shot 21 free throws to 16 for the Warriors. In a win over the Pacers last season the officiating was terrible. The Celtics shot 14 free throws to 31 for the Pacers and in one sequence at the end, with the Celtics ahead the refs gave the Pacers 3 shots and the ball on a bogus flagrant and technical foul on Pietrus. Zielinski also called a loss to the Lakers last season where LA shot 20 free throws to 5 for the Celtics. That is not a misprint. The Celtics shot FIVE free throws for the game. This season Zielinski was accused of cursing at DeMarcus Cousins when giving him a T but nothing ever came of it as far as was reported. The Celtics are 6-4 in their last 10 games with Zielinski on the court while the Pistons are 2-3 this season and 4-6 in their last 10. His home W/L record this season is 18-14.

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