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Pistons vs. Celtics preview: Someone has to win

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Two losing streaks enter, only one can leave.

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Game Vitals

Where: TD Garden, Boston, MA

When: 7:30 p.m. EST

Watch: Fox Sports Detroit

Analysis

The Pistons basically suck at everything. They've lost 9 straight games.

The Celtics don't suck as much, but still are pretty sucky. They've lost 5 straight games.

May the team that sucks less on a Wednesday night in early December win.

Elite Level Analysis

Alright fine, I'll look up some stats and write things that all us sad, sad Pistons fan will hopefully find intriguing.

But first, let's talk SVG. Stan Van Gundy is scrambling to find a new rotation that works. I would argue he is scrambling in bizarre and misguided directions. This is where someone is supposed to say, "he's forgotten more basketball than you'll ever... etc..." but, well yeah, SVG is scrambling in bizarre and misguided directions.

Breaking up the "big three" in the starting lineup was common sense, no brownie points for that. Bringing Moose off the bench and staggering the rotation in its current form virtually guarantees that Smith will have the most minutes of the three main frontcourt players. This makes no sense (it took epic amounts of restraint not to capslock that sentence). And regardless of whether or not Monroe is playing well, it is still utterly baffling that the Pistons refuse to at least give a Monroe/Drummond combo an extended audition with actual perimeter oriented perimeter players, if for nothing else just to make absolutely sure that it won't work. I don't get it.

In other news, Josh Smith is essentially tied for the team lead in FGA's/g, and his TS% is now a whisker under 40%.

Okay. I'm sorry. I know. I know you know. Okay. Pistons vs. Celtics. Celtics vs. Pistons.

The Celtics come in on a five game losing streak and are made up of Rondo, Jeff Green and a mostly fairly anonymous mix of decent to decent-plus prospects. They play at a very fast pace (3rd in the league), but are a terrible 3-point shooting team, even worse than the Pistons. Actually worse than everyone, as they're last in the league in 3pt%. Digging into the team-wide stats it's actually pretty shocking how many things Boston is bad at. They're also last in the league in blocked shots. Last in defensive and total rebounds. Last in FT's made and FTA's. They also don't take particularly good care of the ball, ranking towards the bottom of the league in turnovers.

So they're not very good. So what I'm saying is there's a chance.

The Celtics do have a solid frontcourt, Tyler Zeller has been on fire from the field (.709 TS% on the season), Jared Sullinger and Brandon Bass have been consistently productive. Kelly Olynyk has been poor overall, but is shooting 43% from behind the arc.

But Rajon Rondo has struggled mightily with his shot, though his assists and other peripheral numbers are still around their normal superstar level. Evan Turner is a similar player, but worse and in a SG/SF's body. Neither Avery Bradley or Jeff Green are knockdown shooters. The Pistons can, should, hopefully will, sag off everyone not named Kelly or Marcus. If they can make the Celtics perimeter players take jump shots, this could be the game that finally breaks the losing streak.

Players to Watch

Andre Drummond: I could cut and paste the same paragraph for almost every game on the Pistons schedule, but looking up and down the Celtics roster there isn't a single player who has the size, strength or athleticism to hang with Andre if he's on his game and being utilized correctly. The Celtics best matchup for him is probably Zeller, but he's been behind Olynyk in the rotation. Regardless this is another team Drummond should put up big numbers against.

Jeff Green: The Pistons defense on the whole hasn't been terrible this year, but with how poorly the offense has played there is precious little wiggle room defensively if the team is to have a chance of winning on any given night. I've never particularly liked Green's game, but he's playing a ton of minutes and developed into a roughly average NBA wing player, just the kind of guy the Pistons seem to make a habit of allowing to go off for a few points above his average at a little more efficient a rate than usual. If that happens tonight, then bad things will have happened.

Prediction

Pistons win 101-94.

Socratic Question

If a basketball higher power commands that Josh Smith's minutes must stay in the 30+ range, what is the optimal way to arrange the Pistons rotation? Now your thoughts...