at Boston Celtics (18-10) at Detroit Pistons (13-13)
Saturday December 15, 2018
7:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #29, Road Game #17
TV: NBCSB, FS Detroit, NBA-LP 750(xfinity), 751(DTV)
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub, 97.1 FM The Ticket
Little Caesars ArenaProbable Starters
PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Marcus Smart
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Marcus Morris
C: Aron BaynesCeltics Reserves
Two Way Players
P. J. Dozier
Brad Stevens Probable Starters
PG: Reggie Jackson
SG: Bruce Brown
SF: Luke Kennard
PF: Blake Griffin
C: Andre Drummond
Glenn Robinson III
Zaza PachuliaTwo Way Players
The hottest team in basketball, the Boston Celtics, play their second game of a back to back tonight and travel to Detroit to take on the Pistons. The Celtics will be playing in their 6th back to back of the season and are currently 2-3 in the second games of the back to back. Boston will be looking to expand on their NBA tying longest winning streak of the year of 8 games. Boston has won their last 8 games by an incredible 22.75 points per game, making it one of the most dominant streaks in Celtic history. In last night's game, Kyrie Irving led a balanced attack with 24 points. He was one of 5 players scoring 18 points or more in a runaway 129-108 over the Atlanta Hawks.
Detroit, meanwhile, is on a streak of their own but it's a 6 game losing streak. The Pistons have been a very streak team all year with both a 4 and 5 game winning streak and a 5 and 6 game losing streak. Detroit has lost their last 6 games by an average of 13 points a game while scoring only 100 points per game during that time. The recent poor offensive production has coincided with rotation players Ish Smith, Reggie Bullock and Stanley Johnson going down with injury. Johnson and Bullock will be available for this evening's game. In order for Detroit to break their losing ways they are going to have to do what they do best and are one of the best in the league at: control the boards, especially offensively, get extra chance points, and go inside and dominate in the paint. The Pistons, against Boston's top notch defense, will need to overcome their lack of ball movement and terrible shooting woes where they have some of the worst shooting in the league across the board. The Pistons should be well rested as they haven't played since Wednesday when they lost to the Hornets in Charlotte 108-107.
The Pistons will need to ride the coattails of All-Stars Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin, both of whom have been putting up sensational numbers of late despite the team struggling. Drummond over his last 8 games has 18 points, 14 rebounds and 2.3 blocks a game. Griffin's numbers are just as impressive over the last 8: 27.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and 4.8 assists. Part of the Pistons recent problems have been injury and a lack of any depth to overcome the injuries but more than anything it has been the terrible slump the team is mired in. Leading the way has been starting PG Reggie Jackson who has shot just 38% from the field and 29% from three during the streak while putting up 13 shots a game. Most of the rest of the team has similarly bad shooting percentages as well.
For Boston, Al Horford and Guerschon Yabusele will once again be unavailable but their absence haven't been felt as the Celtics have just had the next men up perform and they have. During the last 4 games, without Horford, Daniel Theis and exciting rookie Robert "Please Don't Call Me Timelord" Williams have more than picked up the slack. Theis has posted 13.5 points, 7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game on 56/40/77 shooting splits and Williams has gone for 5 points, 7.3 rounds and an astounding 3.3 blocks in just 19 minutes per game. Of course, the Celtics have had tremendous performances from Kyrie Irving, Marcus Morris, Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart during the streak and have been responsible for Boston turning around their early season slow starts and have been putting most games out of reach with the starter's great first and third quarter play. The C's put Atlanta out of their misery early in the 3rd quarter and allowed their top 8 rotation players to play limited minutes keeping them fresh for the second half of their home and away back to back. Keys to a Boston victory will be Marcus Morris and Jaylen Brown digging Blake Griffin and limiting him like they did the first two games against Detroit this season. Also, the Celtics need to control the defensive boards and do what they can to control the paint on the defense as Detroit will attempt to take it inside all game and grab extra points and possessions by going hard on the boards offensively. Boston will likely try to pack it in and make Detroit try to beat them from outside since Detroit is shooting so poorly from distance. Here's hoping for another great Green game and extending the streak to an NBA high 9 games.