Pistons vs. Celtics preview: Ballin’ in Beantown

Detroit Bad Boys

The Pistons brutal early season schedule continues as they face the Celtics in Boston. The Pistons have only had a few games this season where they have been expected to win, which is why they come into this matchup with only 3 wins.

The Pistons are coming off a 15-point 2nd half comeback in their win against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday. The Celtics are coming off a win over the Grizzlies on Monday night.

The Pistons have played the Celtics tough the last couple seasons, so this could be a close one even if the Celtics are heavily favored.

Game Vitals

When: 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons +11.5


There has not been an NBA Finals participant hangover for the Celtics in the early parts of this season. Despite playing without starting center Robert Williams III, the Celtics have picked up right where they left off. Their defense hasn’t quite been as good as it was last season, but it has still been very good. They are led by Jayson Tatum and Jalen Brown just as they were last season.

Jayson Tatum is looking like an MVP candidate in the early parts of this season. He is averaging a career-high 31.2 points per game to go along with 7.5 rebounds and 4 assists. He has improved every season he has been in the league and that trend has continued to start this season.

Jaylen Brown is scoring the ball at a career-high mark to start the season as well, but his shooting efficiency is down a bit.

The key to beating the Celtics has always been to not let both of the J’s beat you. That is easier said than done, but at least they are not big men, so the Pistons have better size to handle them.

The Pistons have been feasted on by size this season, and luckily the Celtics don’t have a ton of size in the frontcourt. They start Al Horford at center right now and he is only 6’9” and won’t give Isaiah Stewart any trouble with his athleticism. Athletic bigs with size have been a nightmare for the Pistons this season, and the Celtics don’t really have any of them on their roster right now.

Saddiq Bey has a tendency to have some of his best games against the Boston Celtics. He has especially been proficient from beyond the arc against the Celtics, so hopefully he can keep that momentum going and get his 33% 3-point shooting back on track. His finishing inside is greatly improved this season and that was fully on display against the Thunder on Monday. He won the Pistons that game with his attacking of the rim.

I would expect the Celtics to put Marcus Smart on Cade Cunningham, which could result in some bad turnovers out of Cade. He has been very good this season, but the one aspect that hasn’t really improved is his ability to take care of the ball. He has made some bad passes while being pressured, and Marcus Smart will definitely bring the pressure.

One thing the Pistons have going for them is that the Celtics do not have a ton of depth. They bring Malcolm Brogdon off the bench and he spearheads their bench unit, but outside of him, there are not a ton of players on the Celtics’ bench that can burn the Pistons, which is a recipe for a random player to go off against them.

The Celtics bench being a little weaker is important because the Pistons bench unit has been very bad this season and has a tendency to blow leads.

The Celtics starting lineup is obviously better than the Pistons, but the Pistons’ starters should be able to hang with them. But it is going to take a nearly perfect game out of the team to win this one.

Projected Lineup

Boston Celtics (7-3)
Marcus Smart, Derrick White, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford

Detroit Pistons (3-8)
Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Saddiq Bey, Bojan Bogdanovic, Isaiah Stewart

Question of the Day

Should the Pistons consider starting Jalen Duren with Isaiah Stewart in order to help with some of the size issues they are experiencing?

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