Boston Celtics (5-1) at Detroit Pistons (4-1)Sunday, November 8
6:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #7, Road Game #4
TV: NBA TV, FSN Detroit HD, CSN HD
Radio: WEEI, WDFN
The Palace at Auburn Hills
In a rematch of last year's Eastern Conference Finals, the Celtics square off against the Detroit Pistons in Allen Iverson's first home game as a Piston. The Celtics need to expect the energy to be high and Iverson to be playing to win over the home crowd.
Last season, the Pistons handed the Celtics their first home loss of the season as Tony Allen fouled Chauncey Billups with .1 second on the clock and he hit the free throws to give the Celtics the win. Tony Allen is back for this one, but Mr Big Shot is now out West.
The Celtics returned the favor as they snapped the Pistons' 11 game win streak when the two teams met in Detroit. The Celtics then went on to win the rubber match to win the series 2-1. In the third game, Perk had a career high 20 rebounds.
The Pistons also gave the Celtics their only home loss in the playoffs last season when they met in the Eastern Conference Finals but the Celtics went on to win 2 games in Detroit to close the series out in 6 games.
Both teams played on Friday night as the Pistons lost to the Nets 103-96 for their first loss of the season and the Celtics beat the Bucks 101-89. Allen Iverson had a team high 24 points, 3 rebounds, and 6 assists in his first game as a Piston. The Pistons have had 237 consecutive sell outs and the Celtics can expect a rowdy crowd to greet them when they take the court in this game. Both teams will be looking to send a message so it should be a very good game.
Probable Starting Matchups
PG: Rajon Rondo vs Allen Iverson
SG: Richard Hamilton
SF: Tayshaun Prince
PF: Kevin Garnett vs Amir Johnson
C: Kendrick Perkins vs Rasheed Wallace
Just about every matchup in this game could be a key to the victory. so it is hard to say that just one or two would be key. Probably the most important matchup will be
Rajon Rondo PPG 8.7 RPG 4.20 APG 7.0 EFF + 14.67
Allen Iverson PPG 20.0 RPG 2.80 APG 6.5 EFF + 17.75
This is Iverson's first home game as a Piston and he will be looking to make a good first impression. Rondo is going to have to be at the top of his game defensively if he wants to limit Iverson who will be looking to put on a show.
Honorable Mention: Every other matchup on these two teams
Paul Pierce vs Tayshaun Prince
Prince is long and at times has been able to dominate because of his length but, on the other hand, Pierce has a lot more strength than Prince and when he uses that can get the better of this matchup.
Ray Allen vs Rip Hamilton
Both players move very well without the ball and both will have their work cut out for them defensively chasing each other through screens. Ray started wearing the shooting sleeve because Rip was clawing his arm apart in last seasons ECF.
Kevin Garnett vs Amir Johnson
This is the matchup where the Celtics have the biggest advantage. KG has a big experience advantage as well as a height advantage. The Celtics should try to go to KG to exploit this matchup.
Kendrick Perkins vs Rasheed Wallace
Perk has been on a defensive tear over the last 3 games in which he has blocked a total of 15 shots. This should be a defensive battle.
Leon Powe vs Jason Maxiell
There was a fan voting thing this summer in which these two were against each other as the toughest player. Maxiell won only because the Piston fans were stuffing the ballot box. Now we can see which player wins the matchup in a real game.
Rodney Stuckey vs Eddie House
It was against the Pistons that Eddie seemed to struggle at the point when they trapped him every time he brought the ball up court. Stuckey is considered to be their point guard of the future and will give Eddie all he can handle on both ends of the court.
To the Game
Strong Start The Celtics have gotten into the habit of digging a hole early in the game and then digging down defensively to get back in the game. Against a team like the Pistons who also pride themselves on defense, they may not be able to make up a big deficit should they spot the Pistons a big lead.
Free Throws The Celtics are shooting just 70% from the free throw line this season. In a close game, this could be the difference in a win or a loss and this game will probably be a close game.
Take Care of the Ball The Celtics tend to turn the ball over too much and against a team like Pistons who are very stingy with the ball and who tend to press on defense, that could come back to haunt them.
Road Team vs HomeThe Celtics Jekyll and Hyde home and away personna showed up again this season as they were dominated by the Pacers in Indiana. The Celtics are one of the toughest home teams in the league but we never know which team will show up on the road. If the Celtics play in this game like they do at home, they should come away with a win.