Here’s the Celtics Four-Point Play to appear every Wednesday on Sports of Boston. This is where I will compile four (4) small and related Celtics facts and offer my own spin on a variety of Celtics news stories. The general format will be a short blurb about the story first, then my reaction tabbed underneath it.
(I’m going to use this week’s Four-Point Play to preview the huge Pistons-Celtics game)
1. The Celtics (20-2) will host the Pistons (17-7) tonight in a huge matchup that features the Eastern Conference’s two best teams. The Celtics currently stand at 20-2, and if they win tonight it will be the best start in the storied history of the franchise. What’s important about the Celtics’ opponent?
- The Celtics have only two losses, but they happen to come against two other top teams in the East: the Orlando Magic, and the Cleveland Cavaliers. A loss to the Detroit Pistons, especially at home, would be very demoralizing for the team.
- I realize that you can’t win every game, but to have all three losses against common East powerhouses would look really bad. Everyone, myself included, would start to question exactly how good this team is. Marc Stein will continue to not consider them the top team in the East (like his opinion matters anyway…).
2. Ray Allen should return tonight after missing two games with ailing ankles. What will his impact be against the Pistons?
- Ray will definitely be the third option tonight. I know it’s a really big game, but Doc will have to be sure his ankles are healed enough to run at full speed on. He also may be a little rusty due to his two-game absense. Another reason to limit Ray is that he hasn’t been shooting that well recently. The rest may have helped him, so about 10 shots should be plenty to see where he is physically and mentally.
- Ray will probably be matched up against Richard Hamilton, which will be a good test on his ankles. Rip is fast, and can get to the hoop in just a few steps, so Ray will need to be attentive in order to keep up.
3. Forward Brandon Wallace was just waived by the Celtics. He averaged 12.5 points and 9.2 rebounds in six games while playing for the Utah Flash of the NBA Developmental League. The cut leaves the Celtics roster at 13, two under the league maximum. What does this have to do with the Pistons?
- It does mean something in terms of the Celtics standing in the Eastern Conference. Their strong start has to have them thinking playoffs already, so why not cut dead weight and look at the veterans left in the free agent pool. A name that has popped up has been Chris Webber, former Pistons forward. He’s been rumored to return to the Pistons, but with the need for a big man off the bench a concern for the Celtics, perhaps they take a look at him.
4. The Celtics-Pistons game tonight is a matchup of the NBA’s top 2 scoring defenses. The Celtics are allowing a league-low 86.5 points per game, and the Pistons are right behind them, allowing 91.2 points per game.
- I think it’s safe to say that this will be a low-scoring affair. Both teams boast staunch defenses, headlines by great team defenses. The Celtics dramatically improved in that department with the addition of forward Kevin Garnett and sixth man James Posey. The Pistons have always been strong defensively, with Rasheed Wallace and Tayshaun Prince contributing greatly to their success.
- The Celtics are undefeated at home, and I have to go with the home team here in a close game by 3 points. I envision that the Celtics will improve to 21-2, an all-time best start in Celtics history.
Tags: Brandon Wallace, Celtics, Chris Webber, Detroit Pistons, Four-Point Play, Ray Allen, Richard Hamilton