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Pistons vs Celtics: Arch rivals meet, headed in opposite directions

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An incomplete, young Pistons squad squares off with a contending, young Celtics team

Detroit Pistons Vs. Boston Celtics At Boston Garden Photo by Tom Herde/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Bodies were thrown on the ground and punches were thrown all over the place when those two teams met in the past.

We had great moments there beating those Celtics. We probably won’t see those moments repeating tonight, as we don’t look so much for victories this season but for some competitive basketball that will allow our youngsters to develop. Boston, in turn, has the rebuilding phase behind them (they managed to tackle it exceptionally fast), and is seeking victories to validate their decisions. And their main choices were something a lot of us would like to see in Detroit: Two two-way long, athletic, skilled wings.

However, maybe we’d moan a little about the rest of their roster.

Game Vitals

When: Friday, January 1, 2021, 7 p.m.
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, MI
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit, NBA League Pass

Analysis

The youth movement on both sides will be enhanced by the absence of older stars. Detroit will be without Blake, who is in concussion protocol after taking a hit last game.

And Boston will be without Kemba Walker, who’s nursing his knee.

However the youth movement on our side could be a little depressed, as some of our younglings have their own health issues (Sekou Doumbouya and Killian Hayes have both tweaked their ankles). But, since we have a lot of young players, we’ll surely find some replacements, maybe Deividas Sirvydis, maybe Frank Jackson, who have yet to play for our team.

The absence of Walker in Celtics’ rotation, in turn, will make room for their young guards, who come to the league seeking to add to their pretty impressive achievements at the college level. Rookie Payton Pritchard, who had a full four year career at Oregon, is having a very good start to the season, averaging 8.2 PPG while shooting 60.7% from the field including 55.6% from the long line. He might be aided in his role of rounding the point guard rotation with veterans Marcus Smart and Jeff Teague, and another accomplished college player in Carsen Edwards.

But the main battlefield will be on the wings. Here, the two-way potential of our young wings, Josh Jackson and Jerami Grant (yep, Jerami is that good and still only 26), will be challenged on both ends by Jaylen Brown and Jason Tatum. Brown is coming off a career night (42 points). Both forwards are excellent from distance, so they’ll be a tough nut to crack for our perimeter defense.

Finally, in the battle of more experienced frontcourt players, Mason Plumlee will have his hands full with new Celtics acquisition for the center spot, Tristan Thompson. Mason is a more rounded player, but his deficiencies guarding on perimeter, in the middle and on the glass might cost us too much in this matchup.

But every cloud has a silver lining, so maybe this will give more minutes to young Isaiah Stewart. Oh yeah, there will be some interesting things to see in today’s game, even if the final result won’t be among them.

Projected lineups

Detroit Pistons (0-4):
Killian Hayes, Saddiq Bey, Josh Jackson, Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee

Boston Celtics (3-2):
Jeff Teague, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Daniel Theis

Have a good one, fellow DBBers!!!