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Pistons vs. Celtics: Detroit looks to keep up the defensive pressure on Boston

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Unclear if Blake Griffin will be able to play after missing last game in concussion protocol

Boston Celtics v Detroit Pistons Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

The Detroit Pistons are hosting the Boston Celtics again today for an early Sunday tip. Detroit hopes to follow Friday’s surprising 96-93 victory over the Celtics on Friday with another win today. In Friday’s game it was all about maximizing their defense and allowing it to turn into easier offense. The Pistons were able to build a big lead and hold onto it deep into the second half when the Celtics eventually made their run.

Boston eventually wrestled the lead away from Detroit but the Pistons shocked, well, everyone, by stepping up to the challenge and fighting back. Detroit ended the game on an 8-0 run with clutch makes from Mason Plumlee, rookie Saddiq Bey and Jerami Grant. Can lightning strike twice?

Game Vital

When: 3 p.m. EST
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit

Game Analysis

It is unclear as of press time if Blake Griffin will be able to play today after missing 1.5 games in the league’s concussion protocol. Griffin missed the second half of the game against the Warriors after a forearm to the jaw in a rebounding scrum courtesy of James Wiseman.

If Griffin is able to play the question will be if that is more or less conducive to overall success on offense. Griffin is still a gifted scorer, but with Griffin out Detroit was forced to use a lot more motion and helter skelter chaos that actually played well with their young lineup with the likes of Josh Jackson (the king of chaos), Jerami Grant and Saddiq Bey.

The Pistons will also hope to do something to get Killian Hayes some quality looks at the basket and hope to the basketball gods that some of those shots actually go through the basket. Hayes has been fine on defense and initiating the offense when called upon to do so, but he is front-rimming just about every shot he takes. Hayes is shooting 23% including 0-for-4 against the Warriors and 0-for-5 against the Celtics. He did contribute six assists against the Celtics, but he needs to start hitting some shots.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, rookie Saddiq Bey, has been a pleasant offensive surprise early in his first season. Bey hit 5-of-8 3-pointers on his way to 17 points against the Celtics. If Griffin plays today that will slide Jerami Grant back to his starting small forward position, and that will mean Dwane Casey has to choose between starting either Bey or Josh Jackson at shooting guard.

My gut says he’d choose to start Bey who is steady and is willing and capable of camping out at the 3-point line and taking advantage of open shots. Jackson is the more skilled, explosive offensive player but he has struggled on defense and is prone to unforced errors. His personal brand of chaos might work better off the bench.

Projected Lineups

Detroit

Killian Hayes, Saddiq Bey, Jerami Grant, Blake Griffin, Mason Plumlee

Boston

Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Tristan Thompson, Daniel Theis

Question of the Game

If a player not named Jerami Grant or Blake Griffin scores 20 points for the Pistons, who will it be?