The Boston Celtics and Detroit Pistons meet again at 3 p.m. to wrap Boston’s second “mini series” of this young season. Blake Griffin is questionable to play for the Pistons with a concussion, while Frank Jackson is questionable for personal reasons. Javonte Green remains out for Boston in the NBA’s health protocol, and will be for the next several games, Brad Stevens said on Saturday.
According to the online sports book Betonline.ag, the Celtics remain 8.5 point favorites despite their 96-93 loss to Detroit two days ago. The Celtics fell to 3-3 against the spread and on the season. Detroit moved to 2-3 against the spread and 1-4 in record.
NBA teams have swept six and split four of the “mini series” played as Detroit attempts to sweep Boston today.
- Celtics vs. Pistons spread: Celtics -8.5
- Celtics vs. Pistons over-under: 213.5 points
- Celtics vs. Pistons money line: Celtics -370, Pistons +300
Detroit did not play excellent defense or control the ball by any means as they nearly blew a 21-point lead, and Jerami Grant’s play dwindled into the second half. They did take advantage of a porous defensive rebounding effort, 19 turnovers and an 0-for-9 shooting swoon by Boston to close the game.
Critics blasted shot selection in the final four minutes, where Boston scored 0 points despite only needing three to force overtime. Kick outs to Marcus Smart and Grant Williams produced open looks, while a second chance Smart take at the rim narrowly missed. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown both received well-drawn flare screens into open threes to potentially win and tie the game, which Stevens was happy about.
Going down 23-5 ultimately undermined the Celtics, during which ample penetration by Derrick Rose and Grant that got Detroit inside-out shots. Isaiah Stewart and Mason Plumlee’s aggressive offensive rebounding and a three point flurry from Saddiq Bey and Svi Mykhailiuk worked in tandem with controlling the possession game.
A possible Blake Griffin return further pressures Boston’s defense, particularly to stay in “two big” defensive alignments. Daniel Theis, Tristan Thompson and Stevens continued to defend, while conceding inconsistency, to one of the worst-rated starting fives in the NBA through five games. Boston doesn’t have much of a choice other than to keep a sizable four like Theis or Grant Williams on the floor without an effective third wing.
Last year’s Celtics could easily out-shoot and maneuver around a big team like Detroit with their trio of wings and a deadeye point guard. Those days are gone, and while Tatum and Brown unloaded on Detroit through their second half turnovers, the half court offense got clogged up in crunch time, forcing the ball to the perimeter to unsteady shooters.
The Pistons played a good game plan to muck up the game where Boston is weak. It’s a tough matchup for the current Celtics and the Pistons covering even on stellar nights for the Jays bodes well for taking those points again.
Can the Celtics find a lineup that hits? Payton Pritchard, Robert Williams, Smart, Brown and Tatum looked sharp to start the fourth quarter, before a knee collision knocked Rob out for the rest of the quarter. Look for a combination like that to power the Celtics tonight.
Boston 109, Detroit 101.