Celtics look to get back on track against the Pistons

Boston Celtics (15-14) at Detroit Pistons (10-22)
Sunday, February 19
6:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #30, Road Game #11
TV:  CSNNE, FSD,  LP 751/752 (DTV)
Radio:  WEEI, 97.1 FM The Ticket
Palace of Auburn Hills  
Referees:  Tom Washington,  Brent Bernaky,  Sean Wright

This is "Old Coach Week" for the Celtics.  They have faced both Tom Thibodeau and Lawrence Frank twice this week.  They are 1-1 against the Bulls and hopefully, after this game, they will be 1-1 against the Pistons as well. This is the 3rd and final meeting between these two teams and it is the rubber match.  Both teams one one game in Boston and this will be the lone game in Detroit. 

In Wednesday's game against these Pistons, the Celtics looked uninterested and were a step behind on both offense and defense.  They allowed the Pistons to out-rebound them 44-33.   We can also point to just 16 assists as a team as a reason they lost.  They also shot just 59% from the line, which indicates a lack of focus. 

The Celtics played without Kevin Garnett, which left a hole in the defense which the Pistons were glad to use to score seemingly at will.  Greg Monroe went off for 22 points.  Bill Russell was on hand to watch the carnage and received several standing ovations from the crowd.  The game was so bad, they needed something to cheer about. 

 The Celtics have a 2 game losing streak going while the Pistons are on a 2 game winning streak.  Both teams are 6-4 in their last 10 games.  The Pistons are 7-10 at home while the Celtics are just 4-6 on the road. 

The Celtics owe this team a beat down and hopefully they will come ready to play.   If not, they could be on a 3 game losing streak at the end of the game. 

Probable Starters
Rajon Rondo.... Ray Allen.... Paul Pierce.....Kevin Garnett.... Jermaine O'Neal

Celtics Reserves

Marquis Daniels
Greg Steimsma
JaJuan Johnson
E'Twaun Moore
Keyon Dooling
Mickael Pietrus
Chris Wilcox
Avery Bradley 

Sasha Pavlovic (wrist)  day to day
Brandon Bass  (knee)  out

Probable Starters
Brandon Knight...Rodney Stuckey...Tayshaun Prince...Jason Maxiell..Greg Monroe 

Pistons Bench
Ben Wallace
Jonas Jerebko
Brandon Knight
Austin Daye
Damien Wilkins
Vernon Macklin
Will Bynum
Ben Gordon
Walker Russell


Charlie Villanueva  (foot)  out

Key Matchups 
Rajon Rondo vs Brandon Knight
 In the last meeting between these two teams, Rondo won this matchup, but the Celtics lost the game.  Rondo finished with 35 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals.  Knight had 6 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal.   The Celtics need Rondo to be aggressive but he needs to balance his own scoring with setting up his teammates. 

Paul Pierce vs Tayshaun Prince
This has been a great matchup over the years,  Prince's length can give Pierce problems but Pierce's strength can also give Prince problems.  These two played each other fairly even in the last game with Pierce putting up 10 points, 1 rebound and 5 assists while Prince had 10 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists.  Pierce has been in a mini slump lately and the Celtics need more from their Captain. 

Honorable Mention

Ray Allen vs Rodney Stuckey
Stuckey scored 25 points in their last meeting while Ray put up just 10.  The Celtics' offense has been sluggish and their ball movement has been terrible and that explains why Ray has struggles in the last few games.  Ray hit a couple of big shots in the loss to the Bulls and that may get him going but he needs Rondo to find him when he's open. 

Keys to the Game
Defense - It all begins with defense.  The Celtics have been winning with defense and they have to continue to play tough lock down defense. They have the top defense in the league and they need to keep playing like it. 

Rebound - The Celtics need to be aggressive on the boards.  Rebounding is effort and if the Celtics are putting the effort out to grab rebounds then that effort will translate to the other areas of their game.  In the last meeting between these two teams the Pistons out-rebounded the Celtics by 11.  In every recent loss the Celtics have lost the battle of the boards.   That isn't a coincidence.  They must put out effort to box out and to grab the rebounds. 

- The Celtics have been very sloppy with their passes and have allowed defenders to just swipe the ball.  At times they drive into a triple team and just lose the ball.  They have also been missing from the charity stripe.  They shot just 59% on free throws in the last meeting with the Pistions.   All of this is due to a lack of focus.  When they are focused and locked in they don't commit near as many errors and they are more efficient on offense.  They must come into this game focused on getting the win.

Energy and Aggressiveness
- The Celtics have lacked both energy and aggressiveness in their last two games, both losses.  They have played sluggish, allowing their opponents to get the majority of the 50-50 balls.  They aren't aggressive in going to the boards and in boxing out.  They need to run and to play with energy for 48 minutes.  Anything less is unacceptable. 

Official Report

Tom Washington
Over his 20-season NBA officiating career, Tom Washington has officiated 1,196+ regular season games, 103 playoff games and two Finals games. He was a member of the crew that officiated the 1995 Schick Rookie Game, the 1996 Japan
Games in Tokyo and the 2004 NBA All-Star Game. In addition to his 20 seasons with the NBA, Washington has two years of CBA officiating experience. He has one year collegiate officiating experience and five years of high school officiating experience in his hometown of Philadelphia. The Celtics are 1-1 this season with Washington on the court, with the loss being the Pacer game where the Celtics were called for 24 fouls compared to 18 for the Pacers. The win was the 87-56 Orlando beat down in which the Celtics took 19 free throws to 30 for the Magic. They are 9-1 over their last 10 games with Washington. The Pistons are 3-7 in their last 10 with Washington as a ref. His home W/L record this season is 15-9.

Brent Barnaky
Barnaky enters his second NBA season having officiated 60 NBA games. Barnaky came to the NBA with 10 years of collegiate officiating experience, including three years of N.I.T. Tournament play. He officiated the 2008, 2009 and 2010 NBA D-League Playoffs, and the 2009 and 2010 NBA D-League Finals. He entered the NBA last season as one of five refs chosen from the D-League to officiate a handful of games the previous season. Barnaky also has spent time training and developing other officials at referee camps. He has only officiated 4 games for the Celtics previously, 2 wins and 2 losses. The only game this season was the 79-71 loss to the Suns where the Suns took 16 free throws to 9 for the Celtics. He has called 7 Pistions games, 2 wins and 5 losses. His home W/L record this season is 11-9.

Sean Wright
Wright's first season in the league was 2005-06. Sean Wright has officiated 353 regular season and five playoff games in his six seasons. Prior to joining the NBA, Wright was an official in the NBA Development League where he participated in the playoffs in 2003-04 and the championship game in 2005. Wright’s collegiate officiating experience includes working in the SEC, Colonial, Big South, Southern,
Ohio Valley, Atlantic Sun and Southwestern Athletic Conferences. He participated in the Ohio Valley Conference championship in 2003 and the Men’s NCAA Division II tournament in 2004. He officiated the Eduardo Najera Foundation charity basketball game in 2006 and the Terrell Owens Foundation charity basketball game in 2005.  The Celtics are 6-4 in their last 10 with Wright on the court. He officiated a win over the Nets this season in which the Celtics took 21 free throws to 10 for the Nets. The Pistons are 5-5 in their last 10 games with Wright. His home W/L record this season is 14-10.

Focus and Desire
The Celtics need to want this game.  They were embarrassed by first the Pistons and then the Bulls.  they need to play like they want it and stay focused on what it takes to get it.