Celtics-Pistons preview: Looking for a little redemption


They remember.

The missed shots, the lost rebounds, the way the Detroit Pistons did seemingly anything and everything they wanted to the last time they played … oh yeah, the Boston Celtics remember it all.

“I felt they dominated the game last time we played,” said Boston’s Al Horford.

He’s right, which is strange considering Boston’s record this season (22-5) and how they played in off nights which even then didn’t look as lopsided as their 118-108 defeat at home to Detroit on Nov. 27.

Needless to say, the Celtics will be looking for some redemption today when they face the Pistons.

“We definitely have to pull out a win there,” said Boston’s Jaylen Brown. “They came out and played with tremendous pace when we played them in Boston. They came out and had a pace and energy that was similar to the playoffs. You can tell from the get-go they wanted to win that game. We have to come with the same pace. Because we want to get a win in Detroit. We have the best record in the East and we want to keep it like that.”

Doing a better job defending Andre Drummond - or at the minimum, force him to work harder defensively - has to be at or near the top of Boston’s to-do list. He finished the Nov. 27 game with a dominant double-double of 26 points and 22 rebounds.

Following the game, Pistons head coach/president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy acknowledged his team played one of their best games of the season offensively the last time they faced Boston.

“From an offensive standpoint that is the best we have played all year, relative to that’s the best defensive team in the league and we were able to consistently get good shots,” Van Gundy said following Detroit’s Nov. 27 win. “Even the stretch we hit where we couldn’t score in the second quarter we were just missing shots. We were able to get quality shots on a pretty consistent basis against a great defensive team.”

Indeed, a number of the opponent highs for this season against Boston were set by the Pistons, including most points allowed (118), most points allowed in the first half (60 points), second half (58) and field goal percentage (.518).

And when it came to effort and hustle stats like fast-break points and second-chance points, Boston came up short in those areas as well.

“I felt they hurt us in transition,” Horford told reporters after Friday’s loss to San Antonio. “We have to do a good job of getting back. Defensively we need to be more engaged throughout.”

But more than anything, the Celtics have to play with a more consistent effort and attention to detail at both ends of the floor.

As far as effort, that remains to be seen. 

But when you talk about attention, you can rest assured that the Pistons will get plenty of this from the Celtics. 

“They got us last time,” said Boston’s Jayson Tatum. “We’ll be ready.”


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