When a team is playing bad basketball, as the Celtics are, it’s nice to get an easier matchup to hopefully put things back in order.
But there are no more “easy wins” for a Boston team that’s literally limping into the postseason. And what’s worse? They haven’t beaten the Detroit Pistons (25-50), who they’ll see Wednesday (7:30 p.m., CSN), this season, losing to them with a healthy roster, too.
Boston lost to Detroit 103-83 and 103-88 in the two meetings this season. That could mean two things: The Pistons have all the confidence in the world heading into tonight’s and the Celtics are looking for revenge.
If Boston wants to come out on top, there’s one key statistic it needs to keep in mind: hold the Pistons to under 100 points. Seven of the last eight Celtics losses have come against teams that scored 100 points or more against them. Boston is giving up an average of 96.5 points per game, the most for them since the 2006-07 season, but they’ll need to find that championship-level defense again if they want to contend.
“We’ve proven we can score 100 [points],” Doc Rivers said to reporters after Monday’s 110-100 loss to the Timberwolves. “I mean, we scored 100 [Monday] even without 50 points of your offense, so we’ll be able to score. Especially the new guys - just learning the little things with our defense. We need a lot of work with them, and it showed.”
Kevin Garnett will miss Wednesday's game with inflammation in his foot, but Paul Pierce, who missed Monday’s game due to personal reasons, should be in uniform. The Pistons will be without power forward Jason Maxiell (detached retina), who averaged 10.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks in two games vs. Boston this season.
Boston is just 1.5 games ahead of Milwaukee for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, and they don’t hold the tiebreaker. Wednesday qualifies as a must-win, or it could be C’s-Heat in Round 1 later this month.
“We just know that defensively is the way we’re going to win games,” Jason Terry told reporters. “The way we perform defensively regardless of who’s in uniform hasn’t been up to standard, and it will be. We’re very optimistic. Going forward, we know how we have to play. It starts with our defense. Offensively we know we have to move the ball, and if we do that we’re going to be successful.”