The Celtics look to rebound after an emotional overtime loss against the Bulls.
Boston wins games with defense but tonight’s first key is offense as it would be great to see an outburst at that end of the floor.
Detroit’s defense ranks 10th in points allowed per game, giving up 96.3 points per contest. Paul Pierce struggled against the longer, more athletic Luol Deng, and tonight will face a similar challenge against Tayshaun Prince. Pierce has a significant strength advantage in this match up; look for him to utilize this to set up his patented fade away from the elbow. We also might see him post up more than usual.
Despite the fact that he will be guarded by two stronger and very capable big men in Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, Kevin Garnett should also be able to win a difficult position battle. The “Big Ticket” can make life very uncomfortable for the duo by pulling them away from the basket where he can unleash his jump shot as well as take them off the dribble. Both are athletic big men but the savvy veteran should still be able to get to the basket. Pulling Monroe and Drummond away from the basket will also open things up for Rajon Rondo and a cutting Avery Bradley should he play tonight.
Jason Terry hit two big shots in overtime of the Chicago game. Despite the loss, you hope that momentum carries over and that the Jet continues to provide for the offense.
Dating back to the Grizzlies loss, Courtney Lee has shown his ability to get to the basket. The Celtics need players to attack the rim and get to the free throw line. This could potentially be a big part of Boston’s offense tonight (and going forward) and another turning point for Lee.
The second key to beating the Pistons is defense. More specifically, being able to contain Monroe and Drummond. Rondo and hopefully Bradley will have to keep point guard Brandon Knight from getting into the paint. Once in the lane, Knight can create opportunities for Detroit’s bigs as well as set Prince and Kyle Singler up for three’s, not to mention finish it himself.
Tonight’s third and final key is keeping the league’s ninth best rebounding team off the boards. It may not be the “Bad Boy Pistons,” but Lawrence Frank’s club still plays a physical brand of basketball. The undersized Celtics should look to be the aggressor and dictate the contact rather than be the one’s responding to it. If Boston boxes out and limits Detroit’s second opportunities they should be in good shape.