Boston:106.8 points/100 possessions (15th)
Detroit: 103.7 points/100 possessions (26th)
Boston:102.2 points allowed/100 possessions (2nd)
Detroit:108.6 points allowed/100 possessions (20th)
Probable Detroit starters:
Tayshaun Prince, Rip Hamilton, Ben Wallace, Rodney Stuckey, Jonas Jerebko
Thumbnail: The Celtics head to the Palace at Auburn Hills in their first attempt to get back on track. The Celtics are coming off their worst loss of the season and the Pistons have played pretty well as of late.
WHAT THE PISTONS DO WELL:
The Pistons have a pretty solid bench- at least offensively. Their two biggest acquisitions this offseason, apparently were brought in to play back up roles to aging players soon to be on the outs. A new face to the Pistons organization, Ben Gordon, is definitely not one that’s been forgotten among the Celtcs and the Celtics’ fandom. He shredded the C’s perimeter defense in last year’s playoffs, but has not had the pleasure of reattempting this feat with his new digs due to injury. Well, Gordon’s back now and he’s hit the ground running. Despite missing around 20 games due to injury, Gordon is still the third leading scorer on the team. Luckily for the Celtics, Nate Robinson is athletic enough to stay with Gordon on iso’s. Un-luckily for the Celtics, Robinson has not effectively figured out how to fight through screens and will undoubtedly give up some points given Gordon’s quick release.
Despite being the statistically second to worst team in the league, the Pistons have not only beaten the Celtics this season, but they also boast a nice little five game stretch going into tonight’s matchup.
During this five game stretch, the Pistons only managed to win two games, but one look at the actual data will show a much more threatening team:
55 Sun, Feb 21, 2010 San Antonio Spurs W OT 109 101
56 Tue, Feb 23, 2010 @ Sacramento Kings W 101 89
57 Wed, Feb 24, 2010 @ Los Angeles Clippers L 91 97
58 Fri, Feb 26, 2010 @ Denver Nuggets L 102 107
59 Sat, Feb 27, 2010 @ Golden State Warriors L 88 95
The Pistons beat the Spurs (the Celtics of the West) and suffered a six point loss to Denver. Obviously, this team is a tough out.
WHAT THE PISTONS DO POORLY:
The Pistons may be a tough out, but they are still the second worst team in the league based on statistics. Logic would tell us that there are plenty of things that the Pistons don’t do well.
Maybe it’s because the Pistons’ starting shooting guard (Hamilton) doesn’t shoot threes (only 93 attempts). Or maybe it’s because their backup shooting guard (Ben Gordon) doesn’t shoot a high percentage (31%). Whatever it is, the Pistons find very little success from behind the arc.
I guess it’s not just threes that seem to cramp the Pistons style. As a team they only shoot 44% from the field- three percentage points lower than the league average.
PLAYER/S WHO MAKE ME WORRY:
Pretty much anyone on their front line. The Celtics have had their trouble with athletic big men with a lot of energy this entire season, thus Jerebko isn’t an ideal matchup for Kevin Garnett. The Celtics will also be without Kendrick Perkins tonight, which means the wide bodies that clog the lane for the Pistons will face little resistance. Rasheed Wallace isn’t about to bang around with anyone inside, which leaves Big Baby and Shelden Williams as the Celtics’ best bet to combat the Pistons’ bulk.
Everyone knows what the Pistons notable players can do, so I won’t bother telling you something you already know. You’re NBA fans, so you also know how well lightening fast guards are doing this year. If you don’t, feel free to look up the stats from the past ten Hornets’ games and you’ll see that Darren Collison and Marcus Thornton have really put on a show.
Last year, Will Bynum was destroying people with his quickness much like Collison and Thornton of this season. Despite missing nearly as much time as Gordon has this season, Bynum is 6th on the team in scoring.
PLAYER/S WHO DO NOT MAKE ME WORRY:
The poor man’s Ray Allen is only shooting a shade over 40% from the field this season despite taking the third most shots on the team. The battle for best UCONN-er will be a fun one tonight, but won’t really be a contest.
I just don’t see the same fire I did two years ago when this guy had his coming out party. He’s still putting up solid numbers, but I don’t worry about him anymore.
WHAT WE WANT TO SEE FROM THE C’s TONIGHT:
Nate Robinson and Shelden Williams. Why not? The Pistons have a plethora of the two things most other teams don’t: little scrappy guys and big burly guys. Why not fight fire with fire?
Speaking of fire, I’d like to see that back as well. To be honest, I don’t think any of us will tonight.
Get ready for the blasphemy:
Pistons 99, Celtics 91