The Detroit Pistons are largely overmatched against a Boston Celtics team that looks to be among a small number of elite squads who could contend for an NBA Title this season. As luck would have it, however, this same Celtics team just lost a nail-biter to the Milwaukee Bucks 131-125 in overtime. They are also playing without their best players in Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Al Horford. That led a short-handed Celtics team to rely on five players to play more than 39 minutes in the loss — Mike Muscala, Derrick White, Grant Williams, Sam Hauser and Malcolm Brogdon.
When: 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Watch: Ball Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons +12.5
When you’re facing a team that is not starting all of its projected starters on open night, they are on the second end of a back-to-back, the previous game went to overtime, it was a loss, and it is the last game before the All-Star break, and you’re still 12.5-point underdogs, you know you’re down bad. But that is where the Pistons find themselves.
Still, the silver lining is that tonight is the debut of Detroit’s newest
center power forward big man, James Wiseman. It is unclear what role he will play in game one, but good money is that he comes off the bench as the backup five on a team desperate for a little size down low, and he might find himself in some two-big lineups alongside Jalen Duren in the second or third quarters.
What will Wiseman provide? That’s the million dollar question. He could certainly provide some pick-and-roll highlights as the roll man, or a nice dunk in transition. He could corral some rebounds and block a shot. Whatever happens, soak it up and remember that despite being three years in the league, because Wiseman has been bitten by several injury bugs and could never really crack Golden State’s roations, he still has a lot to learn. We just hope he learns it, and learns it in time to have solidified his purpose in the rotation going into next season.
It’s also another night to see Isaiah Livers play a large part in the wing rotation, and to see Killian Hayes shake off the slump he’s found himself in since a temporary demotion to the bench unit.
For this game not to be an embarrassment, the two primary responsibilities is to somehow contain Derrick White, who is on a career-best stretch right now, and don’t let Sam Hauser sink five or more threes. It’s all I ask. Is that too much?
Detroit Pistons (15-43)
Killian Hayes, Jaden Ivey, Bojan Bogdanovic, Isaiah Stewart, Jalen Duren
Boston Celtics (41-17)
Marcus Smart, Derrick White, Sam Hauser, Grant Williams, Blake Griffin
Question of the Day
How many minutes does Wiseman play today overall, and how many with Jalen Duren?