Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE
Remember when Rondo was the other guy in Boston's Big 3? They're his show now. Can the Pistons knock him off to get back on track.
The Pistons come off a disheartening loss against the Magic that should have moved them to...well 2-8. But it's still better than 1-9. The offense looked much better with Singler in the starting lineup, but it won't be easy keeping that winning percentage in the double digits with the Celtics coming to town.
Game tips at 7:30 p.m. EST
Detroit Pistons: 1-9 (0-3 home)
Boston Celtics: 6-4 (3-2 road)
The original Boston Big 3 has been broken up with Ray Allen making his way to be Miami. But Rondo has made everyone's life easier with an amazing start, averaging 13.3 assists per game. That's good for a 58.3 assist percentage - know who's had as good of a figure as that over the course of a season? No one.
The rest of the squad hasn't been too bad either. Paul Pierce is scoring as much as ever, relying a bit more on three pointers and free throws than in the past, which is probably a fair idea considering he's 35 friggin years old. Garnett has been similarly ageless, and Jason Terry is off to a sneakily fantastic start with only 12 points per game but off a 61% eFG.
The others have been about what you'd expect. Brandon Bass hitting 15-footers, Barbosa combo-guarding, and Jeff Green back to being as mediocre as always even with a new heart or something. And for some reason Doc Rivers is playing Courtney Lee a ton of minutes, so let's hope that continues.
For the Pistons, the offense looked a gazillion times better with Singler in the starting lineup as they put up 54% shooting against the Magic. Although an improvement, that's not enough to fix the team's problems as they also gave up 14 more rebounds and the Magic had no problem finding open looks. Both are recurring issues as teams have the 8th best shooting percentage against the Pistons and Detroit's owns the second worst rebounding differential in the league.
A surprising little streak has emerged in Brandon Knight looking like a point guard. He's had at least 2 assists/to the past three games, including 12 assists with 3 turnovers against Orlando (4 a/to, for those who suck at math like me). Rondo ain't Jameer Nelson, so it'll be interesting to watch his play tonight.
In case this has seemed like a bummer preview, I was just looking around the league for a team worse than us. It's the Washington Wizards, both in wins and points differential. Woah. Lots, including me, had them pegged as a likely playoff team. Note to self: don't build team around John Wall and Nene.
Keys to the game
Bebounds - the Pistons were destroyed on the boards for the first five games of the year before seeming to turn things around. Orlando was a step in the wrong direction. The Celtics are a solid team, but their weak spot is on the glass. They're fourth to last in rebounding differential. If the Pistons can make them pay, they can win.
To extrapolate, I'm putting Jared Sullinger as the key to this key to the game. He's the only decent rebounder on the Celtics other than KG. If he makes waves on the glass, particularly the offensive side, we're going to lose.
The usual - feed the Moose, get some ALLCAPS going, score lots of slam dunk shots.
Perimeter defense - Orlando had no trouble getting open against our roster of small forwards. Boston is a much better jump shooting team, and Detroit will need to be able to do something to slow that down.
Question of the game:
A win against a decent team? Plz?