Kevin Garnett and the Boston Celtics host the Detroit Pistons in the home opener on Friday evening at TD Garden in Boston, MA. Boston and Detroit have a combined 0-5 record.
Event: Boston Celtics (0-3) vs. Detroit Pistons (0-2) - NBA Regular Season, Game 4.
Date/Time: Friday, December 30, 2011 - 7:30 p.m. EDT.
Location: TD Garden (Capacity: 18,624), Boston, MA.
Broadcast Info: Friday's game between the Celtics and Pistons will be broadcast regionally on Comcast SportsNet New England, with Mike Gorman, Tommy Heinsohn and Greg Dickerson calling all of the action courtside. In addition, the game can be heard on the WEEI Sports Radio Network, with Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell on the call.
Odds: Despite its poor start, Boston is a 10-point favorite over young Detroit.
Celtics Roster 2011-12: Ray Allen, Brandon Bass, Avery Bradley, Marquis Daniels,Keyon Dooling, Kevin Garnett, JaJuan Johnson, E'Twaun Moore, Jermaine O'Neal, Sasha Pavlovic, Mickael Pietrus, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Greg Stiemsma, Chris Wilcox. Head Coach: Doc Rivers.
Pistons Roster 2011-12: Will Bynum, Austin Daye, Ben Gordon, Jonas Jerebko, Brandon Knight, Vernon Macklin, Jason Maxiell, Greg Monroe, Tayshaun Prince, Rodney Stuckey, Charlie Villanueva, Ben Wallace, Damien Wilkins. Head Coach: Lawrence Frank.
Celtics And Pistons In 2011: Boston and Detroit met four times in 2011, with the Celtics winning three times. Boston won the first meeting, 109-86, in November but lost 104-92 in the next meeting. The C's closed out the season series with two straight wins -- an 86-82 win in January and a 101-90 victory in April.
Last Time Out: Boston was defeated by the New Orleans Hornets, 97-78, on Wednesday night. Ray Allen scored 15 points and Rajon Rondo chipped in with 13 points and six assists in the loss for Boston, which shot 37.2 percent.
Detroit was clubbed by the Cleveland Cavaliers, 105-89, in its last game on Wednesday night. Ben Gordon led the Pistons with 25 points while rookie Brandon Knight added 23 points and six assists off the bench for the Pistons.
Statistical Leaders: Rajon Rondo is the Celtics' leading scorer, averaging 22.0 points through three games. Rondo also leads the team in assists (10.3 APG) and steals (2.0 SPG). Kevin Garnett averages a team-high 6.7 rebounds and rookie Greg Stiemsma averages 6.0 blocks per game (he has only played in one game against New Orleans).
Ben Gordon is the Pistons' leading scorer through two games, averaging 19.5 points. Rodney Stuckey averages a team-best 4.5 assists, Brandon Knight is averaging 1.5 steals, Greg Monroe averages 7.0 rebounds and Ben Wallace is averaging 1.5 blocks per game through two contests this season.
In The Rankings: Boston ranks 13th in the NBA in points per game, averaging 96.3 through three games. The Celtics are 11th in the league in assists (21.3 APG), 27th in rebounding (35.3 RPG) and 28th in points allowed (106.0 PPG).
Detroit ranks 27th in the league in points scored, averaging 84 per contest. The Pistons are ranked 21st in points allowed (98.0), 24th in assists per game (16.5 APG) and are ranked 29th in team rebounding (33.0 RPG).
Storyline: Early season desperation will be the theme of Friday night's home opener between the Celtics and Pistons in Boston. Not much was expected of the Pistons coming into the new season, but former C's assistant and new Detroit head coach Lawrence Frank will be eager to notch his first win against his former team and spoil the homecoming.
Meanwhile, it has been a disastrous start for the Celtics. Three straight loses, one of which came against a lowly New Orleans Hornets team, has the fan base discouraged and the media wondering whether or not this team can compete in the Eastern Conference. There was hopeful news prior to the game, as the team said that team captain Paul Pierce would be a game-time decision for Boston. Pierce has yet to play in a game this season with a bruised right heel
Four years ago, this matchup would have been a marquee bout that would likely be televised nationally on ESPN. Now, it's unlikely that any major network would want to have anything to do with this one. It's a sign of the times for sure. Boston is an old team, as described be head coach Doc Rivers after the loss to the Hornets, with a bleak future. Detroit, meanwhile, has been mired in a seemingly never-ending rebuilding stage. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Players To Watch: Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen will serve as the Celtics de facto Big Three if Paul Pierce in fact can not play on Friday night. Those three will likely provide the bulk of the offense for Boston in The Truth's absence. For Detroit, Ben Gordon is always a tough player to contain, as is point guard Rodney Stuckey. Another Pistons guard to watch for is Brandon Knight, who can burn the Celtics with his youth and speed all night long.
Prediction: Even though the Celtics are 10-point favorites in this one, it wouldn't seem likely that Boston is primed for a big win based on the early season struggles they have exhibited so far. If anything, expect a battle. Final Score: Celtics 98, Pistons 93.