Detroit entered Saturday night’s contest vs. the Boston Celtics as one of the NBA’s last three unbeaten clubs, but their unblemished record wouldn’t last long. The Celtics came to Detroit, coming off a less-than-impressive start to their year, and quickly found their mojo. Once the final horn sounded, and Boston finished thrashing Detroit 109-89, you were left with the sense that the Eastern Conference hierarchy was in it’s rightful order. Celtics and Raptors (and Bucks?) at the top, and everyone else at least two or three steps behind.
Detroit may not be able to disrupt that narrative, no matter the result of Tuesday night’s game in Boston, but they can validate their successful start with a solid showing against a Celtics team who many believe will be representing the Eastern Conference in the 2019 NBA Finals.
When: Tuesday, October 30, 7:30 p.m. EST
Where: TD Garden, Boston, MA
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit, NBA League Pass
What to watch for
Stanley Johnson continuing to build
Johnson was the sole bright spot for Detroit when these two teams last faced off. He thrived with the ball in his hands, and knocked down open looks from three, finishing the night with 16 points on 55 percent shooting (38 percent from three) - by far his best performance of the season. Look for Dwane Casey to allow Johnson to continue to build off this performance, and put him in a position to do what he does best, attack the rim in transition and compel the game to come to him, at his pace.
Galloway and Bullock turning things around
Reggie Bullock, who was near the top of the league last year in three-point percentage, has only managed to convert four of his first twenty attempts from deep (shooting 10 percent on wide open attempts). Langston Galloway - noted three point specialist - has netted just three of his first twenty attempts from beyond the arc (shooting 12.5 percent on wide open attempts). They’re both due for a breakout game, and with Luke Kennard sidelined for a while with a shoulder sprain, they’ll continue to get ample looks from beyond the arc for the time being. Expect at least one of these two to have a bounce-back game at the Garden.
Glenn Robinson III playing 20 or more minutes
When GRIII isn’t chillin’ on the bench due to a DNP - CD, he’s managing to sniff the floor for just 13 minutes a game. He didn’t get on court in Saturday’s matchup until the game was no longer competitive, playing nine minutes of elongated garbage time. He’s been effective, albeit average, when he has played, averaging 3.3 points, shooting 46 percent from the field and 33 percent (...he’s one-of-three) from three. And seeing how Boston took full advantage of the Jaylen Brown / Marcus Morris - Reggie Jackson matchup, look for Casey to rely on the former Wolverine for his defensive abilities, and showcase him more in the offense Tuesday night.
Detroit’s defense of Jaylen Brown and Marcus Morris
Brown and Morris went to Detroit, snuck into LCA’s kitchen, and took all of their cookies. Brown had a jam packed 25 minutes of action, scoring 19 points with two rebounds, a block, a steal, and went three of seven from three. Not to be outdone, Morris also impressed as he knocked down seven of twelve from the field (three of six from three), finishing with 18 points and eight boards.
A steady dose of Johnson and Robinson should help quiet two of Boston’s eighteen options on the wings.
Editor’s Note: Of course, Casey could always just play Reggie Jackson at small forward again
What are you watching for tonight? Stanley and Glenn versus the Boston wing assembly? Langston knocking down shots? Or something else? Let us know in the comments below.