Boston Celtics vs. Detroit Pistons Preview and Pick

Boston Celtics -6 (38-9) at Detroit Pistons +6 (25-19) O/U 181.5 7 PM ET Friday January 30, 2009 on TNT
By Jason Green at

Tonight the Boston Celtics travel to Motor City to play the Detroit Pistons. The Celtics are currently on a 9 game winning streak and lead the Atlantic Division by 14.5 games over the Philadelphia 76ers, while the Pistons are in 2nd place in the Central Division 10 games back of the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Pistons are struggling as of late, as even though they are coming off a win they are 3-7 in their last 10 games. Well, Allen Iverson was named a starter for the East in the All Star game, but the jury is still out on him in Detroit, as the Pistons are just over .500 with him on the team. The Answer has had a hard time buying into the Pistons system, which is why the Pistons are only in the 6th position in the East.

This season the Pistons are 13-9 at home and the Celtics are 15-7 away from Beantown.

Hoops bookies have the Celtics as 6-point favorites with a total around 181.5. The Celtics are posted at -180 as away favorites and the Pistons are posted at +160 as home dogs.

The Pistons come into this game after beating the Minnesota Timberwolves 98-89 on Wednesday night. The high scorer for the Pistons in that game was Rasheed Wallace going for 25 points on 9/16 shooting. For the game the Pistons shot 36/74 for a FG% of 48.6%. On D the Pistons allowed the T-Wolves to shoot 37/77 for a FG% of 48.1%.

The Celtics come into this game after crushing the Sacramento Kings 119-100 on Wednesday night. The high scorer for the Celtics in that game was reserve Eddie House going for 28 points on 10/13 shooting including going 8/9 from beyond the 3 point line. For the game the Celtics could not miss going 44/80 from the floor for a FG% of 55%. On D the Celtics allowed the Kings to shoot 33/75 for a FG% of 44%.

The Celtics are a much higher scoring team than the Pistons, as they rank 9th in scoring (101.5 ppg) and the Pistons only rank 27th (93.6 ppg). The reason the Celtics are one of the elite teams is their D, as they rank 2nd in points allowed (91.4 ppg) and the Pistons are also legit on the defensive end ranking 4th (93.4 ppg). The Celtics are much better on the glass, as they have a rebounding differential of +5.4 rpg and the Pistons are at -0.7 rpg.

This season the Celtics are 26-20-1 ATS and the Pistons are 19-25. In terms of Over/Under games the Celtics are 20-26-1 and the Pistons are 17-26-1.

On the injury front PF Brian Scalabrine and SG Tony Allen are day-to-day for the Celtics and Richard Hamilton is day-to-day for the Pistons.

The Pistons really need this win to get their confidence back and show they are a legit threat in the Eastern Conference. That will not be easy against a Celtics team that is, once again, on fire after a slump after Christmas.

Rasheed Wallace (12.5 ppg) had a big game in the Pistons last win and needs to do so again. If he is hitting hi J from the outside it will open up the lane for Iverson (17.6) and Tayshaun Prince (14.2) to attack the rim. These 2 also need to hit the outside J tonight in order to pull off an upset.

Rip Hamilton (16.6 ppg) is banged up and the Pistons will need his offense tonight.

The Pistons are legit on D and they need to play good perimeter D on the trio of Rajon Rondo (11.2 ppg), Ray Allen (18 ppg), and Paul Pierce (18.8 ppg). The Pistons also hope reserve Eddie House cools down, as House has been on fire in his last 4 games shooting an astounding 68.8% from downtown.

If Kevin Garnett (16.2 ppg) can dominate inside the Pistons will have to drop down, which will kill them with all the 3-point bombers that the Celtics have. The Pistons are good on D, but they are not a good rebounding team and if the Celtics dominate the boards and get many 2nd chance points they will easily win this game.

This game is not so big for the Celtics, but huge for the Pistons, as they cannot afford to drop too far down in the Eastern Conference standings.