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Celtics continue road trip with a visit to Avery Bradley and the Pistons

The Celtics and Pistons meet for the 2nd of 3 games this season.

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Boston Celtics Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Celtics continue their 3 game road trip with a stop in Detroit to take on the Pistons. These two teams met on November 27 in Boston when the Pistons handed the Celtics the only loss in their 5 game home stand. They will meet once more in Detroit on February 23.

When they met on November 27, the Pistons were 14-6 and in 2nd place just 3.5 games behind the Celtics. Since that game, they have lost 5 straight games and have slipped to 6th in the East, 7 games behind the Celtics. The Cavs, however have crept up to within 3 games of the Celtics after their win over the Sixers on Saturday night.

The Celtics had won 4 straight before losing on Friday night to the Spurs in their first game on this road trip. The Celtics haven't lost 2 in a row since the first two back to back games of the season. The Pistons have lost their last 5 games with their last 4 losses by just 5 or fewer points. The Celtics are 10-3 on the road while the Pistons are 8-3 at home.

Aron Baynes left the Celtics game in San Antonio after being kneed in the stomach by Pau Gasol. He didn't return to that game but is listed as probable for this game. Marcus Morris is questionable with soreness in his knee. Gordon Hayward remains out for the Celtics. For the Pistons, Jon Leuer is out with an ankle injury.

I'm going to guess that Baynes starts for the Celtics since Drummond dominated the Celtics in their first game with Morris starting and getting the bulk of the minutes. Drummond is the type of player that Baynes is perfect to play, not to mention that Baynes leads the league with a 91.5 defensive rating. Also, Baynes played for Detroit last season and has experience defending Drummond in practice. He definitely needs more than the 12 minutes he played in their first meeting.

Probable Celtics Starters

PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Jaylen Brown
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Al Horford
C: Aron Baynes

Celtics Reserves
Shane Larkin
Abdel Nader
Semi Ojeleye
Daniel Theis
Guerschon Yabusele
Terry Rozier
Marcus Smart

Injuries
Marcus Morris (knee) questionable
Gordon Hayward (ankle) out
Aron Baynes (stomach) probable

Two Way Players
Kadeem Allen
Jabari Bird

Head Coach
Brad Stevens

Probable Pistons Starters

PG: Reggie Jackson
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Stanley Johnson
PF: Tobias Harris
C: Andre Drummond

Pistons Reserves
Reggie Bullock
Henry Ellenson
Langston Galloway
Luke Kennard
Boban Marjanovic
Eric Moreland
Ish Smith
Anthony Tolliver

Injuries
Jon Leuer (ankle) out

Two Way Players
Dwight Buycks
Luis Montero

Head Coach
Stan VanGundy

Key Matchups

Aron Baynes vs Andre Drummond
In the first game between these two teams, Drummond had 26 points on 10-12 shooting, 22 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals. Marcus Morris started that game and played twice as many minutes as Baynes. It seems that if Baynes is good to go, it would be the best move to start him and let him cover Drummond as much as possible. Drummond is averaging 14.4 points, 15.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.6 steals.

Al Horford vs Tobias Harris
Harris is leading the Pistons with 18.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. In the first game between these two teams, Harris finished with 31 points. Hopefully they can contain him better in this game.

Honorable Mention
Jaylen Brown vs Avery Bradley
Avery, who is the Pistons' best defender will likely defend Kyrie to try to slow him down. Jaylen will still be wearing his goggles that affect his perception somewhat so hopefully he has had time to get a bit more used to them. Avery is averaging 16.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.4 steals, but it will be his defense on Kyrie that likely will make the biggest difference in this game.

Keys to the Game
Defense- Defense wins games and the Celtics have been winning with their defense. The Celtics are 16-0 when they hold opponents under 100. The Celtics are still ranked first with a defensive rating of 99.4 but this number has been slowly climbing as the Celtics have let their defense slip somewhat in recent games. The Pistons are 13th with a defensive rating of 104.7. The Celtics have to get back to making defense a priority.

Rebound - Rebounding takes effort and desire. The Celtics will need both in order to beat front line of the Pistons to the rebounds. The Celtics have rebounded very well in most games this season but have slacked off in a few games recently. The Celtics are 7th with 45.1 rebounds per game. The Pistons are 22nd with 42.4 rebounds per game but the Pistons are 10th in second chance points with 13.6 per game. The Celtics have to put out the effort to keep the Pistons off the boards (especially Andre Drummond).

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 threes especially if they aren't falling . Good things happen when they get inside. They have to be hungry and play like the team that wants it more.

Play 48 Minutes - The Celtics have started off slowly at times and then have to play extra hard to catch up. At other times they get off to a big lead and then let up and let the other team back into the game. The Pistons are tied with the Celtics for the most comeback wins of 10 points or more with 7 games each. The Celtics can't let up, even if they get a big lead because the Pistons are very good at coming back from big deficits.

X-Factors
Road Game - The Celtics are playing in the second of a 3 game road trip. It is easy to get distracted on the road, especially for younger players. The Celtics need to keep their focus and play their game and not let the hostile crowd, the travel, and the distractions of playing on the road affect their play. The Pistons will have a home advantage that the Celtics will have to focus on overcoming.

Pay Back- Just 13 days ago, the Pistons beat the Celtics 118-108 at the Garden. The Celtics should have that loss fresh in their minds and be looking for some pay back. The Pistons celebrated a bit too much for Kyrie’s liking after that loss and he said he was circling this game on his calendar. The Celtics need to use that loss for motivation to play extra hard in this one and pay them back with a win on the Pistons home court.