The Boston Celtics complete their season series with the Detroit Pistons on Friday night. That’s tough because Detroit is terrible, so that takes any seemingly easy wins off the table in the second half of the year. Why seemingly? The Pistons already beat the Celtics once this year and it took a buzzer-beater for Boston to win the other game. So, let’s start there!
1. Can the Celtics hammer a bad team for a blowout win?
Boston hasn’t had a lot of blowouts yet this season, but this would be a great spot for one. It’s a back-to-back, at home, against a bad team. And Boston is in the midst of a five-games-in-seven-days stretch right now. No better time for a blowout and to steal some in-game rest for the key players.
Sure, the first two games were close, but one would hope the Celtics are turning the corner and could pour it on against a bad team. No Kemba Walker (out on the second game of the back-to-back), but that shouldn’t hold Boston back too much. Let’s see if they can engineer a runaway tonight.
2. What does Detroit do well?
That’s a hard question to answer. Jerami Grant has been great. Mason Plumlee is having a better all-around season than you probably realize. Outside of former Nuggets, it’s been pretty ugly. Wayne Ellington can get hot from deep. Occasionally, Blake Griffin has a throwback-ish game. Isaiah Stewart is a handful on the glass and plays like he won’t eat if he doesn’t play well.
That’s about it. The Pistons force a lot of turnovers. They draw a lot of fouls. Did I mention Jerami Grant has been great?
3. Who starts for the Celtics?
Kemba Walker is out, as is Robert Williams. Marcus Smart and Romeo Langford remain out as well. It’s safe to assume Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Daniel Theis will start. Beyond them, it’s a guessing game.
Will Brad Stevens go two bigs again? Detroit is tall, but they don’t necessarily play big. Blake Griffin is mostly a perimeter player now. It would be nice to see Semi Ojeleye rewarded off his big night with a second straight start.
In the backcourt, Payton Pritchard is the best backup guard. For that reason, he probably stays as a backup guard. Most coaches, Brad Stevens among them, are loathe to remove a player from a comfort zone. That means, you guessed it, Jeff Teague probably starts. That’ll be fun and everyone is sure to love it!