Coverage Begins at 1:00 PM ET
Boston: 47-13 (25-4 home)
Margin: +9.5 ppg (+9.2 last 25%)
Pistons: 28-29 (14-14 road)
Margin: -1.0 (-4.1 last 25%)
Last 10: 2-8
Our trend of encountering teams who are down a star player seems likely to continue today against Boston, though you can never really rule out Kevin Garnett arbitrarily yelling "I don't care about my knee, what are you gonna say my knee, yarrrrggggghhhh!" And checking in midway through the second quarter. Throw in Pierce's pesky thumb, and the Pistons might have a nice opportunity to build on the Magic win.
All the news has focused on the addition of Stephon Marbury to the Celtics rotation. I'm not sure he really changes much. The Celtics already have Eddie House, so Starbury is looking at 15 mpg of meaningful impact. Then again, it's the Celtics, so expect teams to double team Marbury, leaving House open for three.
Other than that, how much oppo research do you need? The Celtics are still a premier defensive squad, and there are even fewer excuses to pretend Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins are not on the court. They love half court sets, though Rondo's speed and ability to generate turnovers quicken their pace a bit.
Mikki Moore says hi. Oh, and this is the team that beat Detroit in the Eastern Conference Finals last year. We still hate them, don't we?
Keys for Detroit:
Go uptempo: Boston's MO on offense is to run a set play, then look for the open three point shooter, then use their edge in offensive rebounding to collect the misses. Their MO on defense is to protect the three point stripe, using their bigs to clog the lane. Garnett's absence compromises both approaches. Go at 'em.
Guard Rondo and Perkins: I say this every time. If Rondo has 8 points in the first quarter, Boston wins.
Crash the boards: The Celtics still play a physical game, regardless of who is in the lineup. It would be nice to see some real minutes for Maxiell, since the Celtics don't have any great post players who can exploit his defensive shortcomings.
Question of the game:
Sure, it's Sunday, but maybe that's just an Iverson thing? The Pistons were 13-4 on Sunday last year. Otherwise, this could get embarassing.