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Pistons vs. Celtics preview: Isaiah Thomas will give Pistons all they can handle

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Can the Pistons make it two in a row on the road?

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Boston Celtics David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Pistons will bring their 2-8 road record into the hostile TD Garden, looking for revenge against the streaking Boston Celtics. They’ll certainly have the November 19 game on their mind, as they lost in the final seconds after Al Horford gathered an offensive rebound, scored the game-winning bucket, and blocked Aron Baynes’ final shot attempt as time expired.

The good news if you’re a Pistons fan, is that Detroit showed significant signs of improvement in last night’s road win over the Charlotte Hornets, eventually blowing out the division-leading bees 112-89.

Yes, the Hornets were playing their fourth game in five nights, but if you’re desperate for a road W, you’ll take it anyway you can get it. And if you happen to stroke out from three in the process, even better.

If Detroit wants to contend with the much improved Celtics, who have won seven of their last ten contests, they’ll need to keep up the hot shooting they displayed in Charlotte (49 percent from the floor, 43 percent from three).

Game Vitals

When: November 30th, 7:30p.m. EST

Where: TD Garden, Boston, MA

Watch: Fox Sports Detroit, NBA TV

Analysis

The result of this game could simply come down to one concept/strategy: try to contain Isaiah Thomas. Thomas has been on a tear this entire season, making that 2016 sympathy All Star selection look more like the first of many more to come. He has led the Celtics in scoring in their last 13 games and is averaging an outstanding 26 ppg this season.

While the three has not fallen as regularly for Thomas as it has in seasons past, that’s not where he does his damage. Thomas is a magician at getting to the rim, hitting at a rate of 57 percent. He also ranks second in the league in points on drives, scoring 9.2 points per game. If Isaiah has an explosive offensive game, it’ll be difficult for the Pistons to escape with a win.

And while Thomas only averages 6.4 assists per game, those numbers don’t necessarily tell the whole truth. He currently ranks 12th in the league in assist points created and is tied for seventh in the league at secondary assists (hockey assist). Seeing how the Celtics do not have a wealth of shot creators on their roster, the C’s offense heavily relies on the playmaking ability of Thomas to create offensive opportunities for others.

Thomas opens up the floor for Jae Crowder, creates easy shot attempts for Amir Johnson near the rim, and is enough of a jump-shooting threat that it gives Al Horford all of the space he needs to operate on the block, or take it out of the paint for a jump shot. Contain Isaiah Thomas, and you’ll contain the Boston Celtics.

I grew up in the Church of Allen Iverson, so I don’t say this lightly. Isaiah Thomas truly reminds me of one of the all-time greats in AI. In fact, The Answer even sent Thomas a personal message encouraging the 5’9 wrecking ball to do what he does best....

Continue to doubt Isaiah Thomas, and he’ll continue prove you wrong, gutting NBA defenses in the process. For the Pistons, they’ll have to focus their energy on stifling Isaiah Thomas, disrupting the guard in the paint, and clogging passing lanes in the process.

Projected Lineup

Detroit

Ish Smith, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Marcus Morris, Tobias Harris, Andre Drummond

Boston

Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Al Horford, Amir Johnson

Prediction

One particular Detroit Bad Boys writer will be at this game, so he’s definitely hoping the Pistons find a way to escape with a win, but alas his reason will not allow him to believe that will happen.

The Pistons are 1-3 in the second game of a back to back so far this season. The Celtics are 4-0 on one day’s rest, and as mentioned earlier are currently on a tear, winning 7 of their last 10. While Detroit was able to cruise against the Hornets last night, they’ve been a team of ultra-highs and ultra-lows. Unfortunately, I believe these trends will continue...but I hope I am wrong.

Detroit 92, Boston 98

DBB Community Question

Rooting for your team on the road can be an interesting experience, to say the least. What’s the best or worst experience you’ve had happen to you in a road arena?