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Celtics look to regain their rhythm as they host the Pistons

The Celtics host the Detroit Pistons as they look to continue their playoff push.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Pistons (25-44) at Boston Celtics (30-38)
Sunday, March 22, 2015
6:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #69, Home Game #35
TV: CSNNE, FSDet, NBA-LP 762(DTV), 752(xfinity)
Radio: WZLX 100.7, 105.1 FM
TD Garden

Referees: Bennett Salvatore, Tony Brown, Scott Twardoski

The Celtics return home after a disappointing 2 loss road trip to take on the Detroit Pistons. This is the 2nd of 3 meetings between these two teams. They will meet one more time in Detroit on April 8. The Celtics won the first meeting in Boston 109-102 in overtime. Greg Monroe led the Pistons with 29 points in that game while Jeff Green led the Celtics with 32 points.

The Pistons are playing in the second of back to back games, after beating Chicago 107-91 at home on Saturday night. The Celtics are playing in the first of back to back games and will travel to Brooklyn for a game on Monday night. The Celtics are 6-8 overall on the first night of back to backs and 4-2 when the first game is at home and the second game is on the road.

The Celtics are 7-3 in their last 10 games and 18-16 at home. The Pistons are 1-9 in their last 10 games and are 11-23 on the road. The Pistons have some nice players and can play well as evidenced by their win over the Grizzlies at home on Tuesday and their win over the Bulls on Saturday. But then, they lost in Philly to the Sixers 94-83 on Wednesday night. Hopefully they are feeling tanky on Sunday.

The Celtics will be short handed with Isaiah Thomas still out with the back injury and Jared Sullinger out with the foot injury. They will also be missing Marcus Smart, who was suspended for one game after being ejected for a hit below the belt on the Spurs' Matt Bonner. I'm going to guess that Brad Stevens will start Evan Turner at the point and Jae Crowder at the small forward as he has in the past.

The Pistons are missing Brandon Jennings who is out with an Achilles injury but they acquired Reggie Jackson at the trade deadline and he is filling in for Jennings quite well. Greg Monroe (knee) and Shawne Williams (illness) are both listed as questionable.

Probable Starters

PG: Evan Turner
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Jae Crowder
PF: Brandon Bass
C: Tyler Zeller

Celtics Reserves

Gerald Wallace
James Young
Phil Pressey
Shavlik Randolph
Jonas Jerebko
Gigi Datome
Kelly Olynyk


Jared Sullinger (foot) out
Isaiah Thomas (back,elbow) out
Marcus Smart (suspension) out

Head Coach
Brad Stevens

Probable Starters

PG: Reggie Jackson
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF: Caron Butler
PF: Anthony Tolliver
C: Andre Drummond

Pistons Reserves
Joel Anthony
Spencer Dinwiddie
John Lucas III
Cartier Martin
Jodie Meeks
Quincy Miller
Tayshaun Prince
Shawne Williams

Greg Monroe (ankle) questionable
Brandon Jennings (Achilles) out
Shawne Williams (illness) questionable

Head Coach
Stan Van Gundy

Key Matchups
Evan Turner vs Reggie Jackson
Jackson is very quick and is always a threat to drive to the basket. He is averaging 13.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 5.0 assists. He is coming off a triple double vs the Sixers and 22 points and 11 assists vs Chicago. The Celtics will miss Smart's defense against him. Hopefully Turner will step up and fill in the gaps left by Smart's suspension.

Tyler Zeller vs Andre Drummond
Drummond is a beast in the paint and is averaging 13.0 points, 13.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. Zeller is going to have to play very well on both ends of the court to keep him in check.

Keys to the Game
Run, Run, Run - The Celtics have proved that when they run and move the ball up the court quickly, good things happen. When they over dribble and slow the game down, they struggle all the way around. They need to push the ball on every opportunity but also play under control.

Be Aggressive - The Celtics need to be aggressive in going for loose balls, rebounding and defending. They also have to be aggressive in going to the basket and not settle for jumpers. Good things happen when they get inside. They have to be hungry and play like the team that wants it more. They were the more aggressive team against the Spurs for just a short time and ran off a 14-0 spurt. They have to play like that for 48 minutes, even against the Pistons.

Rebound - Rebounding takes effort and desire. The Celtics will need both in order to beat the big front line of the Pistons to the rebounds. The Pistons are 4th in the league in rebounding with 45.3 per game. The Celtics will have to work extra hard to beat them to the boards.

Defense- The Celtics need to play tough team defense, especially in the paint. It doesn't matter how much they score if they can't stop the other team from scoring more. They must play defense and get stops especially at the end of the game. No let ups!

Limit Turnovers - The Celtics need to push the pace, but they also have to make smart passes and limit their turnovers. They have to take care of the ball and not allow the Pistons to get easy points off of turnovers.

Revenge Factor and Motivation

The Pistons may be looking to avenge their earlier loss to the Celtics. There is also the individual factor of the players who were traded at the deadline. Tayshaun Prince wasn't a happy camper to be traded to Detroit and I'm sure he will be looking for a bit of vengeance. Also Gigi Datome and Jonas Jerebko will be looking to get back at the team that kept them buried on the bench for most of the season.

The Celtics are fighting for a playoff spot and need every win. On the other hand, the Pistons are out of the playoffs and are jockeying for lottery position, and for them, wins are a set back. They are currently 7th from the bottom and only a game out of 6th. The Celtics are hoping to hold on to the 8th playoff spot. Will the revenge factor overwhelm the motivation or vice versa?

Official Report

Bennett Salvatore

Bennett Salvatore
Bennett Salvatore - Bennett Salvatore has been an official in the NBA for the past 32 seasons, and has worked 1,764 regular season and 235 playoff games, including 25 NBA Finals games. Salvatore has also worked the 1993 and 2002 NBA All-Star Games, the 1993 McDonald’s Championship in Munich, Germany, and the 1997 Mexico Challenge. Prior to joining the NBA, Salvatore spent two years officiating in the CBA and10 years officiating high school.

Salvatore may just be the worst ref in the league, and that is saying a lot because there are some bad ones. Almost always one team or the other gets an advantage when he is officiating and I'll give you a hint, it usually isn't the Celtics.

Salvatore made one of the most controversial calls in NBA finals history in game 5 of the 2006 finals. The call basically gave the Heat their championship. Here is Bill Simmons' take on the call.

Salvatore called the foul on Wade's final drive in overtime (remember, the call where ABC couldn't find a replay to show that anyone touched him?) even though he was standing at midcourt a full 35-40 feet from the play, and even though two other refs were closer to the play. Not only was that NOT his call, he butchered it.

Another of Salvatore's "butchered" calls was in the 2008 conference finals when he waved off a contested 3-pointer that Paul Pierce had hoisted over Richard Hamilton, inducing Hamilton to leave his feet with a ball fake and land on Pierce's back. Pierce, however, was charged with an offensive foul for creating the contact with Hamilton. It was a terrible call. The thing with Salvatore is you never know what you will get. He can be good but he can also be very, very bad. In case you don't believe me, here's a very small taste of Salvatore in action:

Against the Heat, this season, the officiating was terrible and mostly one sided against the Celtics. Miami shot 34 free throws to 17 for the Celtics. Often Salvatore tries to make the game about him and he usually succeeds because rarely do you not notice him for his bad calls one way or the other. The Celtics are 2-0 this season and 6-4 in their last 10 games with Salvatore as a referee while the Pistons are 1-0 this season and 4-6 in their last 10 with Salvatore. He is probably the worst ref in the league and he's a homer ref with a home W/L record this season of 23-9.

Tony Brown
Tony Brown has officiated 716 regular season games and five- Playoff games in his first 12 seasons as an NBA official. Prior to joining the NBA, he officiated for four seasons in the NBA D-League and CBA and three seasons in the WNBA. During that time he worked the 2002 Finals, the 2002 WNBA All-Star Game and the 2001 CBA Finals. As with most refs, Brown has been good and bad in past games with the Celtics. In some the officiating is one sided and in others very good. The Celtics are 3-0 this season and they are 5-5 in their last 10 games with him as a ref. The Pistons are 0-3 this season and 1-9 in their last 10 games with Brown. His home W/L record this season is 28-23.

Scott Twardoski
Scott Twardowski enters his 4th year as an NBA Referee having officiated 162 regular season games. Twardowski’s experience includes six seasons and 206 games officiated in the D-League. He also has four seasons of NBA preseason game experience and worked in NBA summer camps for eight years. He also has seven seasons of WNBA experience, working both the All-Star game and Finals. In addition to his professional experience, Twardoski officiated collegiate games for 12 years in the Pac 10, Big 12, Big Sky and West Coast Conferences and has 10 years of high school officiating experience. Twardoski worked as a teacher for five years in the 16th School District, Covington, AZ.

The Celtics are 1-0 this season and 5-5 in their last 10 games with him as a referee. He has called some games that seem to favor the Celtics and some that seem to favor the opponents. None stand out as being obviously one way or the other. The Pistons are 0-3 this season and 2-8 over their last 10 with Twardoski. His home W/L record for this season is 28-20.

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