Celtics Visit Pistons Looking for Back to Back Wins

Boston Celtics (24-5) at Detroit Pistons (10-21)
Wednesday, December 29
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #30, Road Game #16
TV:  CSNNE, FSD, SNET1, LP 757/758
Radio:  WEEI,  WWJ
Palace of Auburn Hills   
Referees:  Ken Mauer,  Bennie Adams,  Kevin Fehr  

This is the second meeting between these two teams.  The first game ended in Celtics 109-86 victory.  KG led 5 Celtics in double figures with 22 points while Stuckey led 5 Pistons in double figures with 17 points.  Rondo added 17 assists for the Celtics. 

The Celtics are playing in back to back road games while the Pistons were off on Tuesday after a back to back set on Sunday and Monday.  The Pistons are 3-7 in their last 10 games while the Celtics are 9-1.  The Celtics are 10-4 on the road while the Pistons are 7-8 at home. The Celtics are coming off a win over the Pacers after having their 14 game win streak ended on Christmas day.  The Pistons have lost 2 in a row. 

The Celtics are still dealing with injuries but are slowly getting back to health.  They can't afford to take teams for granted or take games off with the Heat just 2 games behind them in the standings.  They have to play as hard against the Pistons as they do against the top teams because in spite of their record, the Pistons can be dangerous if taken lightly. 

Probable Starters
PG: Nate Robinson 8.3 PPG, 2.5 APG, 0.3 SPG
SG:  Ray Allen  16.9 PPG, 3.4 APG,  .415 3P%
SF:  Paul Pierce  18.2 PPG,  5.1 RPG, 3.4 APG
PF:  Kevin Garnett 15.6 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 0.8 BPG
C:  Shaquille O'Neal  10.8 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 0.8 BPG 

Boston Bench Mob
Marquis Daniels
Glen Davis
Luke Harangody
Von Wafer
Jermaine O'Neal
Avery Bradley

Kendrick Perkins (knee) out
Delonte West (wrist) out 
Rajon Rondo (ankle) day to day
Semih Erden (groin, flu) day to day

PG:  Rodney Stuckey  16.7 PPG,  5.4 APG, 1.1 SPG
SG:  Ben Gordon  11.9 PPG, 2.3 APG, .391 3P%
SF:  Tayshaun Prince  13.9 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 2.6 APG
PF:  Charlie Villanueva  13.6 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 0.9 BPG
C:  Ben Wallace  3.5 PPG,  7.2 RPG,  1.1 BPG 

Pistons Bench
Austin Daye
Tracy McGrady
Jason Maxiell
Rip Hamilton
DaJuan Summers
Greg Monroe
Will Bynum
Chris Wilcox


Jonas Jerebko (Achilles)  out
Terrico White (foot)  out

Key Matchups 
Nate Robinson vs Rodney Stuckey
Stuckey is a scoring PG and Nate is not known as a defensive stopper but Nate.   Stuckey also has a height advantage on Nate so this could be a tough matchup for Nate.   If Nate gets into trouble early, we may see Quisy at the point once again.  

Kevin Garnett vs Charlie Villanueva 
This should be an interesting matchup after the controversy that emerged after the last game.  Villanueva accused KG of calling him a cancer patient while KG responded that he called Villanueva a cancer to his team and the league.  Doc backed up KG's version.  Villanueva challenged KG to a fight off the court and so he will probably come in and try to push KG around on the court with KG ready to push back.    Expect the refs to keep a very close eye on this matchup and don't be surprised to see KG in foul trouble early and often. 

Keys to the Game
Play 48 Minutes -  The Celtics have had several sluggish starts recently and they also have gotten back into the habit of letting up when they have a big lead.   They have to come out strong and keep their focus for all 48 minutes. 

Defense - The Celtics must continue to make defense their number one priority.  They built their 14 game win streak with defense and they have won in spite of all the injuries because of their defensive intensity. 

Rebound - The team that wins the rebounding battle usually will come out on top.  Rebounding takes effort and desire and when the Celtics put out both on the boards, it translates to all the other areas of their game also. 

Fatigue and Focus
Playing in back to back games and still being short handed could lead to fatigue down the stretch for the Celtics.  Hopefully Doc can get enough production from the bench to give the starters enough rest to carry them to the end of the game.  They also must focus for 48 minutes and not take the Pistons lightly.