Detroit Pistons (15-26) at Boston Celtics (31-9)
Wednesday, January 19
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #41 – Home Game #23
TV: CSNNE, FSD, NBA-LP 754/755
Radio: WEEI, WDFN, 97.1 FM The Ticket
Referees: Steve Javie, Kevin Cutler, Gary Zielinski
This is the third meeting between these two teams with both of the previous games in Detroit. The Celtics won the first one 109-86 but lost the second game 92-104. The Celtics were without Rondo in the second game along with losing KG to the calf injury in the first quarter. This time both will be back and ready to avenge the earlier loss.
There are a couple of sub-plots in this game. One is the Charlie Villanueva and Kevin Garnett feud. KG explained but never apologized for his cancer comments to CV and CV hasn’t forgiven KG. In the game before KG was injured, Villanueva picked up a couple of quick fouls and purposely bumped KG on his way off the floor. Villanueva isn’t starting in this game but at some time will probably be on the floor with KG and this will be something to watch.
Another plot that has been developing is the benching of Rip Hamilton. Rip’s name has been included in several trade talks, especially in the 3 team trade that would send Melo to the Nets. Rip has received DNP-CD’s for his last 4 games. The benching more than likely is to keep him from being injured prior to the trade, but no one seems to know for sure. In the meantime, the Pistons fans have been chanting for Rip to play and Rip’s future is up in the air.
The Pistons are 4-17 on the road and 5-5 in their last 10 games while the Celtics are 19-3 at home and 7-3 in their last 10. Both teams have won 3 games in a row and someone’s win streak will end. The Celtics should win this game easily and with the loss the last time they met, the Pistons shouldn’t be a team that the Celtics will take for granted. Hopefully we will get to see Gino again in this game.
Rajon Rondo…. Ray Allen…. Paul Pierce…..Kevin Garnett…. Shaquille O’Neal
Boston Bench Mob
Kendrick Perkins (knee) out
Delonte West (wrist) out
Jermaine O’Neal (knee) out
PG SG SF PF C
Rodney Stuckey..Tracy McGrady..Tayshaun Prince..Chris Wilcox..Greg Monroe
Jonas Jerebko (Achilles) out
Terrico White (foot) out
Ben Wallace (ankle) questionable
Rajon Rondo vs Rodney Stuckey
Both Rondo and Stuckey were out the when the Pistons beat the Celtics in their last meeting. Stuckey will be looking to prove that they can beat this team again with him in the lineup while Rondo will be looking to assure a different outcome in this one.
Paul Pierce vs Tayshaun Prince
Pierce and Prince have been battling for many years. Over the years their teams have taken different paths with the Celtics going from the bottom of the league to being a contender and the Pistons going from being champs to now falling to the bottom of the league. This is always a fun matchup to watch.
Ray Allen vs Tracy McGrady
With Rip Hamilton being banished to DNPCD’s for the past 4 games as they try to trade him and his contract, it will fall on McGrady to chase Ray through all those screens. McGrady scored 21 points playing the point in their last meeting and Ray will need to try to slow him down in this one. Ray has been on a hot streak and so if McGrady is a step slow, Ray should have a big night.
Keys to the Game
Defense – The Celtics must continue to make defense their number one priority. With KG back, we should see some tough defense once again.
Rebound – The Celtics make games harder for themselves by allowing their opponents to beat them on the boards. Rebounding takes effort and desire and when the Celtics put out both on the boards, it translates to all the other areas of their game also. They need to be aggressive in going after rebounds.
Take Care of the Ball In their loss to the Pistons this season, they turned the ball over 21 times. For the most part they have been doing better in limiting turnovers, but they can’t afford to get sloppy and they must take care of the ball.
Be Aggressive - The Celtics have to be the more aggressive team. They have to take the ball to the basket and not settle for outside shots. They also must be aggressive in going for loose balls and hustle plays.
Steve Javie has been officiating games since the 1986-87 season and has officiated over 1,300+ regular season games, 190+ play-off games, and 18 NBA Finals games. He has refereed in the Finals every year since 1995. He is one of the more respected referees in the league by most fans but he is not without controversy. He was fined for telling Pat Riley “It‘s giving us absolute delight to watch you and your team die.” Good luck getting favorable calls from him this season, Miami. He also wasn’t very well liked in Portland after tossing their broadcaster, Mike Rice, from a game. He was also once threatened by Sheed when he played in Portland. Javie’s career was in jeopardy when he missed last year’s playoffs with knee problems. His joins players like Wally Sczcerbiak, Kobe Bryant and Brandon Roy who have knees that are reportedly bone on bone. The Celtics are 1-0 this season and 7-3 in their last 10 with Javie calling the games. Javie’s home W/L record is 16-9.
This is Cutler’s first full season as an NBA referee. He was part of a program last season where D-League officials were brought in to call a few games for evaluation purposes. Cutler stands out among his peers for one thing and that is his size. He is the tallest referee in the league, standing 6’8″ tall and weighing 270 lbs. He played power forward for two years at Long Beach State, from 1989 to 1991, and was a teammate of NBA players Bryon Russell and Lucious Harris and was their enforcer. Hopefully he will have a soft spot for our big guys and not be too hard on them as they play the role of enforcer on the team. The Celtics are 1-0 this season with Cutler calling the game. His home W/L record is 15-12.
Zielinski has officiated over 285+ regular season games. He has not yet made it to the playoff pool of referees. He worked 6 years in the CBA and 4 seasons in the WNBA before coming to the NBA. He officiated the WNBA finals from 1998-2001. The Celtics are 1-0 in games called by Zielinski this season and 8-2 in their last 10 games with Zielinski on the court. His home W/L record is 20-11.
Home Court and Revenge
The Celtics will be on their home court and they have been making good on their promise to take care of home court this season. The home crowd should give them a boost. Also having the memory of the loss to this team last time out should give them the motivation they need to beat them this time.