Boston Celtics vs. Detroit Pistons Preview and Pick – Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals

Boston Celtics (66-16) +5, 175 at Detroit Pistons (59-23), 8:30 pm Eastern Friday, ESPN
by Zman of

The Los Angeles Lakers clinched a spot in the NBA Finals with a win over the defending champion San Antonio Spurs Thursday night. Now the Boston Celtics look to join the Lakers when they take on the Detroit Pistons in game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals Friday night in MoTown.

Boston leads the series three games to two, after taking game five at home Wednesday 106-102. The Celtics shot 51% from the field and outrebounded the Pistons 42-25.

Basketball Bookies are listing Detroit as 5 1/2-point home favorites for Friday’s game, with a total of 175. The Pistons are also posted at around -240 on various Vegas moneylines, with Boston getting +200.

Detroit may be short-handed for Friday’s game, and at the very least, at less than 100%. Guard Chauncey Billups has been playing through a hamstring injury, and forward Richard Hamilton tweaked an elbow late in game 5, and is listed as questionable for Friday’s game.

If Detroit can win game 6, game 7 of this series would be played in Boston Sunday night. The Celtics are 10-1 this playoff season at home.

Boston is 1-7 both straight up and against the spread on the road this playoff season, while the Pistons are 6-2 SU and 5-3 ATS at home. Also, the totals are now 9-10 in Celtics playoff games, 6-10 in Detroit’s games.

Boston took two of three games from Detroit during this regular season, out-shooting the Pistons 46% to 39% and out-rebounding them by a 46-36 per-game margin. And all three games stayed under their totals, by averaging just 172 total points.

Through the first five games of this series, the Celtics are shooting 46% from the floor, Detroit 45.5%. But Boston holds a decided 40-31 per-game rebounding advantage.

The totals are 2-3 in this series, with the games averaging 184 points.

Boston led the league in point differential this season at +10.3 per game and FG defense at 42%. The Celtics shot 48% from the field, 38% from 3-point range and 77% from the free-throw line. Boston also ranked 4th in the league in rebounding at +3.1 per game and posted a 22/14 per-game assist-to-turnover ratio.

Detroit ranked 2nd in the league in point differential at +7.4 per game, 3rd in FG defense at 44%, 7th in rebounding at +2.3 per game, and averaged a 22/11 per-game assist-to-turnover ratio. As a team, the Pistons shot 46% from the field, 37% from 3-point range and 77% from the free-throw line.

The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at ranks Boston #1 at 98.47, Detroit #3 at 97.39. Sagarin’s current NBA home-court advantage figure is 4.04.

Zman’s Pick: I like Detroit to sack up tonight and take care of business on their home court.