It was a rough week for the Boston Celtics. A visit from the
lowly Detroit Pistons to open a brief home stretch could help them
get back on track.
Coming off another disappointing loss to the top team in the
Eastern Conference, the Celtics look to bounce against the
struggling Pistons on Monday night.
Boston (41-24) shot 40.0 percent and allowed LeBron James to
score 24 of his 30 points in the second half of a 104-93 loss at
Cleveland on Sunday. It was the Celtics’ second consecutive
decisive loss to the East leaders, and it concluded a six-day
stretch where the Atlantic Division leaders went 1-3 after winning
four in a row.
Though the aging Celtics have a comfortable division lead, they
are fourth in the East, 10 games behind the Cavaliers and looking
like a team that’s playing tired, rather than inspired.
“Looking at the defense from the (2008) championship year, when
we won it, it doesn’t look the same,” said former Celtic and
current Cavalier Leon Powe. “It looks like the rotation is slower
and they ain’t getting to the shooters and closing out like they
did before. I don’t know if it’s effort or maybe they’re a little
Though Boston’s big three of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray
Allen are in their 30s, they are still some of the NBA’s top
all-around players. Allen scored 20 points while Pierce and Garnett
each had 18 on Sunday. As a group, however, Boston’s struggles have
come on both ends of the court.
Boston has been held to 93 or fewer points in four of five
games, and it’s allowed an average of 106.0 in its last three.
“We’ve just got to keep dealing,” coach Doc Rivers said. “Our
goal (is) to get us at our peak when the playoffs start and see
where we are at, but we’ve got to get there and we have to work
there. We have a lot of work to do.”
The Celtics can start Monday in the opener of a favorable
two-game home stretch against Detroit (23-43) and New York.
Though Boston split the two previous games with Detroit – both
at The Palace of Auburn Hills – this season, the Pistons have lost
eight of 10 overall heading into this contest, including a 105-100
loss to the Celtics on March 2. Allen had 18 points and Rajon Rondo
added 15 with 11 assists for the Celtics in that contest.
Rondo is averaging 18.0 points and 9.0 assists against Detroit
The Pistons, on the verge of missing the playoffs for the first
time since 2000-01, look to bounce back from a 112-99 loss at
Atlanta on Saturday.
Jason Maxiell had 19 points with 12 rebounds and Richard
Hamilton added 18 as Detroit trailed by as many as 28 while losing
its sixth straight road game and falling to 7-25 away from
“It’s always tough to come back when you’re down by so much,”
Hamilton said. “You’re fighting an uphill battle the whole game. “I
can’t see any positives out of this game.”
Detroit’s 6-foot-10 rookie Jonas Jerebko had 16 points and 10
rebounds earlier this month against Boston, but his status is
uncertain after injurying his shoulder against Atlanta.