The Boston Celtics take on the slumping Detroit Pistons this afternoon at 4:00 P.M. Detroit won the last battle, 118-108, on November 27th, and Andre Drummond was dominant. He bulled and shot his way to 26 points, 22 rebounds, six assists and four steals. He simply could not be contained.

Al Hoford started that game at center and had his share of problems trying to keep Dre in check. The Pistons have slumped lately, losing their last five games. Part of their issue has been a weak bench, and their remedy could lead to the Celtics seeing more of Drummond (per The Detroit Free Press' Vince Ellis):

The struggles have Van Gundy openly wondering about rotation changes — which likely means leaving at least two starters on the floor at all times. Pistons center Andre Drummond said he’s ready to shoulder a larger workload.

He said he routinely asks Van Gundy to remain in the game when he plays the entire third quarter. Van Gundy listened back in October when the Pistons scored a comeback victory on the road over the Golden State Warriors, Friday night’s opponent at Little Caesars Arena.

“I’m already in my second wind, so I’m not trying to come out,” Drummond said. “Sometimes he listens, sometimes he doesn’t.” Drummond is averaging 33.5 minutes per game, which would be a career high.

Defending Drummond has been a problem in the past simply because of his size. His Combine measurements show a height of 6'11.75" and a wingspan of an absolutely-freakish 7'6.25". That gives him a wingspan differential of 1.08. For comparison, Dre is 1.25" taller that Anthony Davis, has a .75-inch greater wingspan and weighs 60 pounds more. Here is NBADraft's Jonathan Wasserman on Dre's NBA potential prior to the draft:: "Few in the NBA have the physical attributes to evenly match up with Drummond." And since then Drummond has learned to distribute the ball and hit his free throws.

We may see more of Aron Baynes in today's contest. Aron has the size and strength to contain Dre close to the hoop and to cover him on the elbows where Drummond has been effective getting the ball to teammates. Here is what the Boston Herald's Keith Pearson had to say after Baynes' signing this summer:

He adds rebounding and toughness to our team that we really need,” Celtics assistant general manager Mike Zarren said. “Red Auerbach said get the instigators and not the retaliators and Aron is definitely an instigator.

Daniel Theis may also get a shot at Andre. Theis only played 10 minutes in the November game but had 12 points shooting four-of-four on field goals and four-of-five from the line. Baynes played 12 minutes in that contest and scored six points on three-of-three shooting while grabbing six rebounds.

Tobias Harris is having a productive season and leads the team in points with an average of 18.8. He exploded for 31 against Boston in November. Brad Stevens may have to find an answer for him. The guard tandem of Avery Bradley and Reggie Jackson can not be ignored. Jackson leads the team in assists with 5.4 per game, and Bradley is a super-reliable two-way player that adds much stability to his team. The Celtics don't want to be the team that breaks Detroit's losing streak.

Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC

Baynes photo via Christopher Evans/The Boston Herald
Drummond photo via Paul Sancya/AP

Tom Lane 12/10/2017 09:45:00 AM Edit
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