After a closely fought road battle with the New York Knicks, the Detroit Pistons play host to the defending Eastern Conference Champion Boston Celtics tonight. Both teams will suit up for the second time in as many nights.
Jayson Tatum and company enter the night riding a league best 5-game win streak, eviscerating everybody in their path with their league leading offensive attack.
Following a poor showing in Boston on Thursday, Detroit were able to put up a fight against the sturdy Knicks last night, hanging around all the way until the final minute of the play.
Cade Cunningham could be set for a return after sitting out the teams prior clash in New York.
When: 7:00 p.m. ET
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, MI
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons +9.5
3 Things to watch for
1. Can Alec Burks and the bench continue their strong play?
Man, how good it was to finally have some solid guard play off the bench. Piston fans had been clamouring for the return of veteran guard Alec Burks and the 31 year-old put fourth a solid debut for his latest club. Burks lead the bench brigade with 17 points, getting to the free throw line a team-high 8 times.
Killian Hayes also had a productive game, particularly in the first half where he scored all 4 of his field goals. From the moment Hayes checked-in his intent was clear; attack-at-will. The frenchman hoisted 3 jump shots within as many minutes. He finished the night with a full-line; 11 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists & 4 steals.
Overall Detroit's reserves totalled a season-high 53 points. Bench scoring has been a sore-spot for the Celtics, another productive night from Casey’s back-ups would hold his team in good stead for an upset win.
2. Detroit must limit the duo of Tatum and Brown
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are currently the league’s best scoring tandem. They are the engine that drives Joe Mazzulla’s high powered offense. The duo currently rank in the top-11 for scoring per game with Tatum putting-up 31.4 and Brown registering 25.4 points a night. If they are able to sustain such a scoring pace, each would achieve career highs.
Now, how on earth do Detroit guard these guys? The realistic answer is; there is no way in stoping Bostons two-headed monster. For Detroit to have any chance in limiting Boston offense it will require astute defensive communication and rotations. The Celtics take a league high 44.3% of their shots from beyond the arc, per Cleaning the Glass. Hence, effective communication and staying home on shooters will be pivotal in limiting wide-open perimeter looks for the visitors.
Detroit’s perimeter defenders will need to be on point tonight to counteract Bostons relentless drive and kick style of attack. If Bogdonavic and Bey’s shot isn’t falling, don’t be surprised if Isaiah Livers sees an uptick in minutes to help fortify the perimeter defense.
3. Jalen Duren’s impact on the interior
He struggled last night in New York, but Detroit 18 year-old rookie showed flashes on brilliance on the interior at TD Garden on Wednesday.
With Robert Williams out, the Celtics pose one of the leagues smaller font-lines with Grant Williams and Al Horford both listed under 6-foot-9. In his first outing, Duren was able to capitalise with is size advantage, posting 10 points and 10 rebounds, 5 of which were offensive.
Between the shot blocking and second chance opportunities, Duren has the potential to swing momentum on the Piston home floor.
Boston Celtics (9-3)
Marcus Smart, Jalyen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Grant Williams, Al Horford
Detroit Pistons (3-10)
Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Saddiq Bey, Bojan Bogdanovic, Isaiah Stewart
Question of the Day
Would what you be willing to give up in a trade for Jaylen Brown?