Tip: 7:30 PM Court: TD Garden Watch it: CSN Hear it: WEEI
Referees: Tony Brothers, Derrick Collins, Ben Taylor
Jermaine O'Neal dropped 19 and 7 and Paul Pierce made his season debut with 12 points and 5 assists in a 96-85 win. Brandon Bass added 17 off the bench.
Get it to: Paul Pierce
Yes, Rondo just came off the triple double… and yes, I want him to push and be more aggressive… but Paul Pierce has killed the Pistons and Rondo hasn't had that same level of success. Rondo hasn't hit double digit scoring against the Pistons since March of 2010. He has, however, had a couple of giant assist games. Pierce, meanwhile, just makes shots against Detroit. He's 38-62 (61.3%) in his last 5 games agasinst the Pistons. So keep getting him the ball, let him make shots, and let Rondo be the distrubutor for this one.
Gotta stop: Greg Monroe
Monroe is the Pistons up-and-coming young center who put up 22 and 9 against the C's the first time around. The Celtics still won, and they can win again if he goes off. But the Pistons will have a significantly much more difficult time challenging the C's at all if he doesn't.
Just keep him off the boards. He has an offensive rebounding rate that's just about equal to Joakim Noah… and we know how annoying he can be on the glass. Keep that in check and the C's will be fine.
The Wild Card: JaJuan Johnson
Will he be nervous if he starts? Coming in and getting minutes off the bench is one thing, but your mental preparation changes when you know you're going to hear your name announced at the start of the game.
If the kid can come out and perform calmly and soundly, the Celtics will be able to get past KG sitting for a game. Even if he doesn't start, he'll get more minutes as the C's keep an eye on KG's hip.
How we see it goin' down
I'm hoping to hell this isn't Toronto part 2. The Bulls loom again tomorrow night and the Pistons are a bad… BAD team.
But I just don't think that's going to happen this time. The Pistons are almost as bad as it gets, and the Celtics don't have the excuse of traveling or the OT loss. Plus, Doc Rivers might murder someone if they try that sorry effort again.
Pierce continues his dominance over Detroit, Rondo will drop another big assist night, JaJuan Johnson will play reasonably well, and the Celtics will overcome some sloppy play early to win comfortably, 96-81.