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Celtics Look to Rebound Against Pistons

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Boston Celtics (41-24) vs. Detroit Pistons (record)
Monday, March 15, 2010
TV: Comcast SportsNet/ESPN; Radio: WEEI
Venue: TD Garden
The Boston Celtics will have little time to reflect on their disappointing loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers yesterday, as the Detroit Pistons storm into the Garden tonight for an 8:00pm tip.
The Celtics defeated the Pistons, 105-100, back on March 2, and that game served as the start of a modest four-game winning streak for Boston. Since that loss to Boston, the Pistons have gone just 2-4.
Detroit is still playing without starting point guard Rodney Stuckey, who collapsed during a timeout in a loss to the Cavaliers on March 5. Stuckey will not play in tonight's game, meaning the energetic Will Bynum will most likely start in his place.
The road hasn't been kind to the Pistons, as they boast a less than desirable 7-25 record away from Detroit. However, with Stuckey in the lineup back on Wednesday, January 20, the Pistons knocked off the C's, 92-86 at the Palace. This is first meeting of these two teams in Boston. Given Boston's struggles at home all season, though (19-12), we can no longer bank on an "easy win".

Projected Starters:

Celtics: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins

Pistons: Will Bynum, Richard Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Jonas Jerebko, Jason Maxiell

Health Check: The Celtics are healthy.

For the Pistons, center Ben Wallace (knee) and forward Chris Wilcox (back) are listed as questionable, while guard Rodney Stuckey (illness) is out.

Keep It In Mind: In the first two meetings between these clubs, the Pistons averaged 45.5 rebounds per game, compared to just 34.5 boards per game for the Celtics.

Who's Hot: For the Celtics, Ray Allen scored 20 points on 7-14 shooting against the Cavaliers yesterday.

For the Pistons, Will Bynum, Richard Hamilton, and Jason Maxiell all scored at least 16 points against the Hawks on Saturday.

Who's Not: The Celtics' bench mustered just 15 points against the Cavaliers yesterday.

For the Pistons, Tayshaun Prince scored just eight points in nearly 40 minutes of action against the Hawks.

Key Matchup: Ray Allen vs. Richard Hamilton

Honorable Mention: Paul Pierce vs. Tayshaun Prince

Skinny: The Celtics need to hit the glass hard tonight, particularly against Jason Maxiell. If Maxiell starts tonight, both Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Garnett could have difficulty matching his energy, similar to how they struggled with Anderson Varejao yesterday. The absence of Stuckey should favor the Celtics, but Rajon Rondo cannot take Will Bynum lightly. Bynum's a feisty point guard who plays like his contract isn't guaranteed. Rondo would be wise to take the assignment seriously.

The C's still need to worry about Hamilton and Prince, as well as Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva off the bench. The Pistons have a talented roster, despite being 20 games below .500 (23-43). The Celtics' bench poured in 39 points the last time these two teams met, on top of initiating a furious fourth quarter run that helped seal the win. The bench needs to respond after yesterday's lackluster performance.

With only 17 games remaining in the regular season, Doc Rivers has maintained that his team is close to "turning the corner". Perhaps that process will continue to unfold tonight against the Pistons.