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Pistons vs. Celtics preview: Battle in Boston for the 7th seed in the East

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The Pistons and Celtics are jockeying for playoff position in the crowded east. The Pistons are making their first trip to Boston.

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

It seems like we just did this as the Pistons are facing the Celtics again. This is the 3rd time these teams have faced in the last three weeks. The season series is tied 1-1. The previous two games have both been tightly contested matchups, and I expect nothing less from this one.

Game Vitals

Where: TD Garden in Boston, MA
When: Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2016 at 7:30 pm EST
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit

Analysis

The Pistons bounced back from a chippy loss to the Indiana Pacers and defeated the Orlando Magic on Monday. Everybody on the team was clicking on all cylinders in that game, as the Pistons went on to win by their largest margin of the season, 26 points.

The key in that game was bench play for the Pistons. The starters were able to do their usual and build a lead for the bench. That has usually meant that the starters would be coming back in to a deficit. Swag and the run-n-gun bench had something to say about that as they came in and built on the lead.

The Celtics are a deep team, and bench play will be key. Expect to see a heavy dose of Swag and the bench brigade to match up with that deep Celtics bench. If the Pistons bench can run-n-gun like they did against the Orlando Magic, this one should be a win.

Key Matchup

KCP and Avery Bradley on the point guards.

KCP and Avery Bradley are two of the better defenders among shooting guards. Both are in the midst of a breakout season. They also usually guard the best back-court player on the other team,  which means they might not be they will most likely be guarding the two prolific scoring point guards, Reggie Jackson and Isaiah Thomas. If either of these players can step up and shut down the other team's point guard, that could very well be the difference in the game.

EDIT: Avery Bradley is out with a hip injury and will be replaced by Evan Turner (meh defense) and Marcus Smart (ferocious defense).

Last Time We Met

Dec. 26 at The Palace of Auburn Hills: Celtics 99, Pistons 93

The Celtics pretty well had control of this game throughout with the exception of a late Pistons run in the 4th that made the game close. Reggie Jackson had 17 points, but he only had two assists to go with three turnovers. Andre Drummond had his worst 20-20 game of the season, as he needed 21 shots to get 22 points to go along with his 22 rebounds. The Celtics had all starters in double figures, and they were led by Avery Bradley's 18 and Isaiah Thomas' 17.

Projected Starters

Pistons: Jackson, KCP, Morris, Illyasova, Drummond

Celtics: Thomas, Bradley, Turner, Crowder, Johnson, Sullinger

Score Prediction

Pistons 109, Celtics 101

Community Question

Does Brandon Jennings follow up his swagical performance against the Magic with another great game?