Tonight the Pistons will be in Boston to play against the Celtics at 7:30pm EST. The Celtics are on one days rest after beating the Heat on Monday, and the Pistons are on the 2nd night of a back to back after beating the Hornets last night.
The Celtics are now mostly healthy after a dinged up start to the year, and after a 3-4 start have gone 7-3 in their last 10. Offensively they are lead by Isaiah Thomas, who is averaging 26 points per game on very good efficiency, and Avery Bradley is having a career year next to his all star backcourt mate, scoring 18 per game and also doing it on absurd efficiency, while averaging just under 8 boards per game. (which leads the team) Jae Crowder is a beast defensively and is a really nice complementary player on offense who can shoot as well as create for himself a little. Al Horford has not exactly been lights out with the Celtics, but he is still the guy who does all of “the little things” that helps your team win, and his defense is as good as ever. Amir Johnson plays some defense, and also can shoot and finish on offense. He is just a rock solid big guy. Marcus Smart mostly comes off the bench, and he flops his way to being a good defender, but unfortunately he can't find his offense at all in the early season. Kelly Olynyk is a stereotypical stretch 4 white guy, he is tall and can shoot and pass. Terry Rozier can shoot, Jonas Jerebko is a big man swiss army knife, Tyler Zeller does nothing well or poorly, Jaylen Brown is a raw athlete as a guard.
This is a team that is finding their stride, they play sound defense (although it has not been all that good so far) and a very good offense with tons of ball movement. They also of course have a wonderful coach on Brad Stevens.
Matchups to watch:
Andre vs. Awesome defense: Last time the Pistons played the Celtics, Andre turned in one of the better defensive performances you will see from a big man. His ability to wall off the paint to Thomas while being able to get back to prevent an open shot by Horford is unreal, and there may legitimately be 2 other bigs in the NBA who can do it like he did. If he can do that again, the Pistons will have a great chance to win, if he isn't on point though, it could be a long night. Also, he will be well rested after the ejection last game.
Pistons vs. Good team defense: The Celtics do a ton of offensive stuff that is meant to stretch the defense and make them work. If the Pistons are tired and a step slow from the night before, they could get shredded. They will have to dig deep and play with energy and precision all 48 minutes.
Marcus vs. Switches: Last time these 2 played, the Celtics were fine with Thomas switching onto Marcus, and Marcus didn't really do enough with that. If Isaiah Thomas is on Marcus, Marcus needs to be scoring/assisting damn near ever possession. Thomas on defense is, by far, the weakest link on this Celtic team, so even if it isn't Morris, whoever is getting him has to be ready to convert.
Tobias vs. Horford: Tobias should have a good advantage against Horford on offense given that Horford should have a hard time keeping up with him. But Horford has a major size advantage on the other side as well. If Tobias can stick with Horford so that SVG doesn't feel the need to play Jon Leuer 40 minutes it would be a big win for the Pistons.
SVG vs. Not being stupid: Don't take Andre out at the end please. (watch the Pistons lose on a offensive rebound again with Andre on the floor.)
So in conclusion...
Wink knowingly at your friends if:
Andre has 20/20 at half time and is dominating defensively.
Marcus finds Thomas guarding him.
The Pistons don't look any worse for wear on a back to back.
Run for the hills if:
The Pistons look slow.
SVG is playing Leuer too much.
Thomas starts to score, a lot.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
Andre has an awesome game on both ends.
Marcus Morris scores 20 points.
KCP and Tobias miss every 3 they take.
Pistons win on a Andre Drummond offensive rebound as time expires.
What do you think? Will Andre replicate his defensive performance? Will the Pistons be tired?