The Boston Celtics currently sit fifth in the Eastern Conference, just 4.5 games back from first place. They have a comfortable 2.5 game lead over the Pistons behind them and a win would take them to fourth place.
Against the Detroit Pistons the Boston Celtics will be looking to repeat their last two meetings against the Motown squad after soundly defeating them in a home and home in October.
The Detroit Pistons are nipping at the heels of the Boston Celtics as they sit sixth in the Eastern Conference, just 2.5 games back from fifth place.
Against the Boston Celtics, the Pistons will want to gain a win to draw themselves closer to the top of the conference as well as have insurance in the event of a tie-breaker come playoff seeding.
In what is an historical NBA match-up, the Boston Celtics lead the all-time series against the Detroit Pistons 240-135. The playoff matchup is much closer though, as the Celtics lead the all-time series a mere 24-21.
The Celtics want to gain some ground in the East and with a win would do that as well as end the Pistons hopes of winning a tie-breaker against the Celtics.
The Pistons surely don’t want to lose the season series against the Celtics and a win at home would do wonders for the teams confidence against the C’s going forward.
Why can’t the Pistons score with the best?
Will injuries derail the Celtics?
We’re going to compare the Boston Celtics and Detroit Pistons in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.
Ever since Stan Van Gundy was with the Pistons, the team stayed in the bottom third in terms of shooting percentage. With the injection of Dwane Casey, who led the Toronto Raptors to a top 10 offence and defence last season, there was hope that their scoring fortunes would turn around. Unfortunately for Pistons fans the offensive coordinator for the Raptors, Nick Nurse, stayed in Toronto and took the vacant head-coaching role.
That hope of offensive improvement hasn’t quite come together as the Pistons are actually dead last in terms of shooting percentage. Only two players on the team have an above league-average shooting percentage and the rest of the team is streaky at best. Currently composed the Pistons aren’t built to keep up with the scoring talents of the NBA. What’s the solution? It’s difficult to say but with a high-usage player like Griffin, he needs to be surrounded by players that can convert on what he creates.
Winning seven of their last ten matches, including a 36-point victory over the Bulls, the Boston Celtics are showing the NBA their true colours. Sure, not a single team they played in that stretch had a winning record, but you have to beat the fodder to challenge the best.
Unfortunately for the Celtics, once they solved their team balance issues, injuries started to pop up for them. Irving (Shoulder), Hayward (illness), and Horford (knee) are all set to miss some time due to health concerns. The bench has stepped up admirably for the Celtics and Marcu Morris is putting in the season of his career, but as the schedule heats up the Celtics need to get their body right if they want to stay on the right track.
F Glenn Robinson III is sidelined with an ankle injury and is targeting a return after Christmas.
F Blake Griffin sat out against the Sixers but is expected to play against the Celtics.
F Stanley Johnson is day-to-day with a knee issue.
G Ish Smith is out indefinitely with a groin injury.
G-F Reggie Bullock is day-to-day with an ankle injury.
F Henry Ellenson is sidelined with an ankle injury and is day-to-day.
G Kyrie Irving has a shoulder issue but is probable to play against the Pistons.
G-F Gordon Hayward is sidelined with an illness and is a game time decision.
F-C Al Horford is day-to-day with a knee injury and will miss a “few games” as per coach Brad Stevens.
F Guerschon Yabusele is on week-to-week evaluation over his ankle injury.
C Aron Baynes is returning from an ankle injury and may play limited minutes.
Marcus Morris has been the ultimate glue-guy for the Boston Celtics. At 6’9 and 245 lbs, Morris fits anywhere along the Celtics front line. He does not command the ball and plays tough, physical defence against their opponents more dangerous frontcourt threats.
With Horford likely to be out, don’t be surprised to see Morris lineup at the center position for the Celtics. Morris is averaging career highs in points, rebounds and three point percentage, so the insertion of Morris into the lineup will provide them a true positionless five.
On the other side of the court will be Detroit’s high-flying superstar Blake Griffin. Starting off his career as just a pick and roll option, Blake Griffin’s overall improvement has seen his usage reach the heights of his career.
At 30% usage, Blake Griffin is being asked to make plays for everyone on the court while also taking advantage of his own physicality to punish ill-prepared defenders. Averaging a career high in points (25.6), Griffin will surely be hounded by every Celtics defender to give up the ball.
The odds will be updated as soon as they’re made available.
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Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.
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