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Pistons at Celtics game preview: Will Pistons play the role of spoiler?

The Celtics need a win desperately to hold their position in the Playoff picture. The Pistons should welcome the chance to get in the way.

Andre Drummond should continue to be more than the Celtics can handle.
Andre Drummond should continue to be more than the Celtics can handle.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Game tips: 7:30pm

Detroit: 25-50 (10-27 road)
Boston: 38-36 (25-11)
Detroit Pistons tickets

The Situation

I'm just old enough to remember the glory days of the Boston Celtics and Detroit Pistons rivalry back in the late 80's and early 90's.

Anyone else remember this kind of stuff? Good times, good times.

It goes without saying that this "rivalry" isn't what it once was. In fact, it's hard to call anything a rivalry when a team is as bad as the Pistons have been, but in spite of that, both teams have something significant to play on Wednesday.

Boston is clinging for dear life, literally limping its way to the Playoffs. Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger are out for the season. Kevin Garnett has missed time with an inflamed ankle and isn't expected to play. Combined with the absence of Paul Pierce - who is expected to start Wednesday - Boston has lost 7 of its last 9 games overall.

While Boston is all but a lock to make the Playoffs, retaining the 7th seed over the Milwaukee Bucks will mean the difference between a first-round matchup with the New York Knicks instead of the nearly invincible Miami Heat. They have every incentive to win as many games as possible between now and the end of the season.

By contrast, the Pistons haven't had the playoff incentive for several years, but they do have the chance to make things difficult for the Celtics, both on Wednesday night and potentially in the Playoffs as well.

In one of those weird pieces of basketball statistics/trivia, the Pistons have won the last 4 contests against the Celtics by a total of 60 points. Boston has inarguably been the superior team, but Detroit has simply had the Celtics' number. Greg Monroe has been a very tough cover for Boston. Moose has put up 2 double doubles against the Celtics already this season. Andre Drummond has also played well against the Celtics; his size, quickness, and athleticism have been too much for the smaller, older Celtics big men.

I propose that against the Celtics, it shouldn't be about lottery balls. It should be about beating them, only beating them, and beating them soundly.

Keys to the Game

Attack the paint: The Celtics will be starting Brandon Bass and Chris Wilcox up front, along with Jeff Green at small forward. That's a vulnerable lineup if I've ever seen one. Feed the Moose, crash the glass, and probe with dribble penetration. Good things should result. As an added bonus, if the Pistons can get Bass and Wilcox in foul trouble, things get even easier inside.

Feed the Moose: It sounds so nice, I said it twice.

Contain Jeff Green and Paul Piere: This one is pretty self-explanatory. Outside of these two players, the Celtics have very little individual offensive ability. Pierce is expected to start at shooting guard, where he will have a tremendous physical advantage over Brandon Knight, who is expected to start opposite him. Hopefully, we see some adjustments from Lawrence Frank. Jeff Green has been playing very well for the Celtics. On the season, he's averaging just over 12 points per game. During the month of March, Green is averaging just over 17.

Question of the Game

What will you be cheering for, lottery balls or a victory over the Celtics?