The Celtics return home after a two game road trip to face the Detroit Pistons at the TD Garden. The Pistons are 14th in the East, behind only the Orlando Magic in the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes. They are 0-3 on the road so far. The Celtics are 3rd, behind Milwaukee and Cleveland and have won their last 3 games. They are 3-1 at home.
This is the first of 4 meetings between these two teams this season. They will play again in Boston on February 15. They will meet twice in Detroit, the first time in just 3 days on November 12 and the second time on February 15. The Celtics are 246-140 all time overall against the Pistons. They are 120-46 all time in Boston.
The Celtics were 3-1 against the Pistons last season. They won two in Detroit and one at the TD Garden while the Pistons won once in Boston. Both teams played on Monday and the league, including these two teams had Tuesday off for Election day. Detroit is coming off a win at home over the Thunder while the Celtics are coming off a win on the road against the Grizzlies.
Luke Kornet missed the last two games for personal reasons but is not on the injury list at this time so I expect him to be back in the lineup for this one. Robert Williams III (knee) is getting closer to a return, and his rehab is on track. Danilo Gallinari will be out for the rest of the season as he rehabs from an ACL tear.
For the Pistons, Marvin Bagley III has been working his way back from a knee sprain and has yet to play this season. He practiced on Sunday, but missed Monday’s game and is listed as doubtful for this game. Alec Burks has missed the season so far with a navicular fracture in his foot. He also practiced on Sunday and is missed Monday’s game. He is listed as questionable for this game. Both players will be a game time decision.
Probable Celtics Starters
PG: Marcus Smart
SG: Derrick White
SF: Jaylen Brown
PF: Jayson Tatum
C: Al Horford
2 Way Players
Danilo Gallinari (ACL) out
Robert Williams III (knee) out
Head Coach (Interim)
Probable Pistons Starters
PG: Cade Cunningham
SG: Jaden Ivey
SF: Saddiq Bey
PF: Bojan Bogdanovic
C: Isaiah Stewart
Kevin Knox II
2 Way Players
Marvin Bagley III (knee) doubtful
Alec Burks (foot) questionable
Marcus Smart vs Cade Cunningham
Last year’s top pick is playing very well for the Pistons. He is leading the Pistons with 21.4 points, 6.0 rebounds 6.3 assists and 1.0 steals. He is shooting 42.3% from the field and 30.9% from beyond the arc. He was the leading scorer in each of the last three games between these two teams with 20+ points in each game. Marcus Smart is coming off one of his best games of the season and hopefully will have another big game in this one.
Jayson Tatum vs Bojan Bogdanovic
Bogdanovic is averaging 20.2 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. He is shooting 48.3% from the field and 46.8% from beyond the arc. Jayson Tatum is playing at an MVP level so far this season and the Celtics will need him to continue playing that way on both ends of the court. Tatum especially has to stick with Bogdanovic on the perimeter where Bogdanovic is the Pistons best 3 point shooter.
Jaylen Brown vs Saddiq Bey
Bey is averaging 16.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game. He is shooting 45.3% from the field and 33.3% from beyond the arc. Jaylen Brown has been playing very well for the Celtics and will need to continue to do so in this game while also limiting Bey’s impact for the Pistons.
Keys to the Game
Defense - Defense will always be key to winning every game. The Celtics are 20th in the league with a 112.8 defensive rating while the Pistons are 29th with a defensive rating of 116.5. The Pistons are 28th in the league with 107.7 points per game. The Celtics have to come into this game with the mindset that they need to play tough defense and not underestimate the Pistons, who have a lot of young and hungry players and if the Celtics don’t take them seriously, they can surprise them.
Rebound - Rebounding is important to give the Celtics extra possessions and to limit possessions for their opponents. The Celtics are averaging 41.2 rebounds per game (26thth) while the Pistons are averaging 43.9 rebounds (17th). The Pistons are 9th in offensive rebounding with 11.7 per game and they are 6th with 15.7.0 second chance points per game. Rebounding takes effort and the Celtics need to give extra effort to beat the Pistons to rebounds. When they show extra effort on the boards, it often shows up in other areas of the game as well.
Stay Focused - The Celtics must stay focused on playing the right way. They have to take care of the ball and they have to focus on making crisp passes and on careful ball handling. They also have to focus on taking good shots and making them. The Celtics have to come into the game focused and keep that focus throughout the game. Their offense has been very good, but they still lapse into iso ball from time to time and they need to avoid that and keep the ball moving.
Be Aggressive - The Celtics can’t come into the game expecting an easy game and to be able to take it easy on both ends of the court because the Pistons are not a very good team. They have to come in and be aggressive on defense, on taking the ball to the basket, on diving for loose balls, on rebounding and on playing as a team. If they allow the Pistons to play harder than them, they could be surprised by a loss.
Home Game - The Celtics are back at home after a successful 2 game road trip. The Celtics need come out ready to protect home court and improve their home record to 4-1. Young teams often struggle on the road and hopefully the Garden will be loud and will be able to distract the young Pistons team and the Celtics will be ready to play their best in this game.
Officiating - Officiating is always an x-factor. Every crew calls the game differently. Some call it tight and call every bit of contact while others allow more physical play. Some favor the home team while others call both sides evenly. The officiating has not been very good all the way around this season so far and so the Celtics have to adjust to the way the refs are calling the game and not allow no calls and bad calls to affect their focus on playing the game.