Tonight the Pistons will be in Boston to play the Celtics at 8:00 p.m. EST on TNT. The Pistons are on one day of rest after losing to the Heat on Saturday, while the Celtics are also on one day of rest after beating Milwaukee on Saturday, this is their 3rd game in 4 nights.
The Celtics are now the owners of a shiny new 2nd seed in the Eastern conference, and currently sit with a very good offensive efficiency of 109.2, and a not too bad defensive efficiency of 106.3. They are lead into battle by the worst Isaiah Thomas to play in the NBA (I know it is spelled different) who is pretty incredible offensively. He is averaging 29.1 points and 6.4 assists per game and doing it really efficiently. Jae Crowder is a beast defensively and a very good complimentary player offensively who doesn't create a lot of offense but is very good at finishing plays that are already created. Avery-Team's leading rebounder-Bradley is hurt. Al Horford is hurt and may or may not play, but if he does then he is just a guy who excels at every aspect of the game without really being dominant at anything, with the only real hole being that (as a center) he is not a good rebounder. Amir Johnson is also hurt but he is expected to play, he is another guy who is just a really good all around big. Marcus Smart is a flopper like no other but also a really good defender, but his offensive game is not much good. (Though he doesn't lack confidence) Kelly Olynyk is a solid stretch 4/5 type, Terry Rozier is still pretty young but not all that good, Jonas Jerebko is still chugging along as a swiss army knife big, Jaylen Brown is young, athletic, and not all that good. Gerald Green can score in bunches still, and Tyler Zeller is like Aron Baynes in that he is not all that good at anything but can do several things with some competence.
The Celtics are a good team, and it whether they can keep it up will have a lot to do with whether or not Thomas can keep up his career best play. They have some very real problems with rebounding but they play hard and are well coached.
Matchups to watch:
Andre vs. The fishing village: The Celtics are not a good rebounding team. Andre Drummond is the best rebounder since Dennis Rodman. This should be a very good game for Andre. He also has put in a couple of wonderful defensive games against the Celtics as he navigates the very difficult Thomas/Horford pick and roll/pop.
KCP vs. Being healthy: In the 2 games since KCP has returned, he hasn't really looked like he is all the way good and has laid a couple of duds. There is a chance that it could just be him regressing to the mean, but if that is the case then the Pistons have a big problem, so hopefully he is just getting his legs back. Either way, if he could start hitting shots again that would be big for the Pistons.
Al Horford vs. Playing: Fairly obvious here. Horford is really good, if he plays the Celtics are much better on both ends.
Pistons vs. Containing Isaiah Thomas: Thomas is really good. It will be a team effort to try and contain him, starting with the guards (I would guess KCP will spend some time on him) and ending with the bigs helping and containing effectively.
Stanley Johnson vs. Being awesome: He will cool off, but it is fun to watch him right now as he continues his awesome defensive presence while also hitting his shots offensively. Hopefully he can keep up the hot streak for a while and then even out instead of dropping back off again.
So in conclusion...
Wink knowingly at your friends if:
Andre has 15 rebounds at the end of the first quarter.
Andre is super engaged on defense and snuffing out almost everything the Celtics run.
KCP bursts triumphantly out of his 2 game slump and is in full irrational confidence mode, and its working.
Run for the hills if:
The Pistons still can't defend the 3 point line even a little bit and are allowing the Celtics to hit everything.
Isaiah Thomas starts cooking.
Horford is getting open for jumpers out of the pick and pop.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
Andre has a huge game.
KCP looks better but doesn't have too big a game.
The announcers spend the whole time talking about all the “locker room issues” of the Pistons.
Pistons win a close game with Reggie Jackson scoring several big buckets in the clutch.
What do you think? Can Andre have a big game? Can KCP bounce back?