One team is on a roll. The other, well, is not. It's no secret that the Boston Celtics and Detroit Pistons have been heading in opposite directions this season, and the two teams will meet for the second time this season at 7:30 p.m. EDT on Wednesday night at TD Garden in Boston, MA (TV/Radio: CSN/WEEI).
Boston was able to get its season on track in the first matchup on December 30, 2011. Behind a breakout game from veteran center Jermaine O'Neal, who piled up 19 points, seven rebounds and two blocks to lead the C's to a 96-85 victory -- their first of the lockout-shortened season. Paul Pierce made his season debut in the game for Boston, and he finished with 12 points, five assists and four rebounds in 23 minutes. Brandon Bass, who is out for 10-14 days with a knee injury, had 17 points off the bench for Boston. Greg Monroe led the Pistons with 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds in defeat.
Last time out, the Celtics had one of their more impressive victories of the season, topping the Eastern Conference leading Chicago Bulls, 95-91, at TD Garden on Sunday afternoon. Rajon Rondo had a prolific game, notching yet another triple-double with 32 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds. After the game, Rondo declined to talk to the media (reason unknown).
Kevin Garnett had 13 points and 12 rebounds, Paul Pierce added nine points and four steals, Ray Allen scored 11 and Chris Wilcox, who started in place of an injured O'Neal, finished with 11 points. JaJuan Johnson had a career game, as the rookie totaled 12 points and four rebounds in 33 minutes off the bench. Boston shot 49.3 percent from the floor.
Garnett and reserve guard Mickael Pietrus were limited in Celtics' practice on Tuesday, and head coach Doc Rivers said that both are doubtful for the game against Detroit on Wednesday.
Things couldn't have been much worse for the Pistons in their game on Sunday, losing to the miserable Washington Wizards, 98-77, on Sunday. Monroe had 27 points and six rebounds, Rodney Stuckey had 11 points, three assists and three steals and Tayshaun Prince collected 10 points and six rebounds for the Pistons, who shot just 32.6 percent.
However, the Pistons fared much better on Tuesday, losing to the San Antonio Spurs, 99-95, after a fourth quarter rally fell short. Stuckey amassed 23 points, eight assists and four boards, Prince added 18 points and Brandon Knight finished with 16 points. Ben Gordon had 10 points and Ben Wallace had nine points and five rebounds for Detroit.
Wednesday's game is the Celtics' last home game until the very end of the month (Feb. 29 vs. Milwaukee Bucks), as they open a five-game road trip that begins Thursday against the Bulls.