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In all fairness, the Detroit Pistons (11-22) have been doing much better as of late. However, the Boston Celtics losing five of six games – including two to the Pistons in the last week – does not inspire confidence in the fans.
The Celtics’ 96-81 loss at the Palace of Auburn Hills Sunday evening punctuates the question marks for the Celtics this year as a contending team. Any remaining hopes of a championship seem close to gone.
After a 4-20 start to the season, the Pistons have come back nicely, winning seven of their last nine games. They defeated the Celtics 98-88 last Wednesday, and another win against the veteran team shows that the youngsters in Detroit appear ready to come together and win ballgames.
Throughout the contest, no matter the score, it seemed clear that Boston couldn’t keep up with Detroit’s big men, including Rodney Stuckey, who had 13 points in the first half, going to the line 11 times. Size was the difference maker, especially with Kevin Garnett out due to a family issue – his second missed game this year along with last Wednesday against Detroit.
His absence plus the recent loss of Brandon Bass made the Celtics look limited on both ends of the court. They couldn’t keep up with the Pistons, especially on the defensive end, where the Celtics fouled Pistons players left and right. The officiating could be questioned given Detroit’s 46 free throw attempts to Boston’s 15, but it was simply bad defense by the Celtics.
As more fuel for Celtics fans against the officiating, Rajon Rondo received a double technical foul towards the end of the third quarter. Rondo disagreed with a lack of calls against Detroit and said some words directed towards referee Sean Wright. Rondo followed this by throwing the ball at Wright’s chest, earning him the ejection. He had just five points and six turnovers.
It was a rough loss with little upside, as the Celtics looked overpowered by a bad basketball team in the Pistons. They will have to play much better tomorrow night when they travel to Dallas to take on the Mavericks.