7:00 PM ET on ESPN
Boston: 38-9 (15-7 road)
Margin: +10.1 ppg (+10.2 last 25%)
Last 10: 9-1
Pistons: 25-19 (13-9 home)
Margin: +0.2 ppg (-2.2 last 25%)
Last 10: 3-7
So, Boston has won it's last nine, beating the likes of Dallas, Phoenix, Miami and Orlando by double digits. Our starting point guard took away an all star nod from Rajon Rondo or Ray Allen. Oh, and Eddie House has hit 22 of his last 32 three pointers. Well, at least Brian Scalabrine is out with injury.
After a 27-2 start, it looked like the Celtic train might be coming to a halt. In particular, teams were starting to use bigger guards to sag off Rajon Rondo, forcing him to shoot jump shots. Unfortunately, Rondo starting hitting some of them, and he's been averaging 15 and 8 over his last five.
I still contend that part of Boston's success is predicated on teams overplaying Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Consider that KGs scoring is off by three points per 40 minutes, with no impact whatsoever on Boston's margin of victory. In fact, he's only played about 28 mpg over the last seven games.
It is impossible to discuss the Celtics without talking Defense. The Celtics are the best in the league, and feature first team all defensive players in Garnett and Rondo. Paul Pierce is a small step behind them, but uses his athleticism to wear down opponents on the other end of the court.
It's Boston. Boston is living Drama!!!!! How do you like them nwoeda2arrrghg!
Keys for Detroit:
Stop Rondo: The little man plays a highly efficient game, as teams tend to give him free access to the lane. Of late, more teams are sending him to the foul line, which makes sense given his free throw shooting (63%).
Keep up the tempo: Detroit can no longer win a half court game against the Celtics. Teams have had some success by pushing the ball up court, which keeps Perkins off the glass, Garnett out of the paint and Rondo out of the passing lanes.
Don't sleep on the perimeter: Eddie House is not an all-star, but he'll seem like one if Detroit starts ball watching. If Mike Bibby can go 6-6.
Question of the game:
Can we hang with the best? One of the small consolations to Detroit's lousy start has been our performance against top teams. Top teams that aren't the Celtics, that is.