Watch It! – Pistons at Celtics
Here are five things to watch out for when the Boston Celtics and the Detroit Pistons meet at 7:30 p.m. tonight at TD Garden.
In past seasons, the Detroit Pistons had been forced to pull Andre Drummond from the court during crunch-time situations. Many teams, and notably the Celtics, went to the hack-a-Drummond tactic, hoping to make up points with the assumption that Drummond would miss at least one of his two free throw attempts.
Such a tactic has been largely removed from games this season with an update to the rulebook. Now, if teams purposely commit a foul away from the ball during the final two minutes of any quarter, the team that was fouled will receive a free throw and possession of the ball.
The new rule prevented the Celtics from using the hack-a-Drummond tactic a single time when these teams met Nov. 19, which is an indication that it will not be used tonight, either.
How Much Gas in the Tank?
Brad Stevens shocked many involved with the team, notably media members, when he scheduled practice for Tuesday afternoon. Holding a practice in late November is not surprising. Holding a practice late in November after arriving home around 4 a.m. the same morning after a flight home from Miami is very surprising.
The Celtics spent about a half hour in the film room Tuesday afternoon before making their way onto the court for a very light, half-hour practice session. This wasn’t a tiring practice, but it was a practice nonetheless, and it will be interesting to see how much gas the team has in its tank tonight following its exhausting couple of days.
Many have viewed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as a player who has a ton of potential. And many have expected that he would begin to fulfill that potential this season.
Thus far, he isn’t living up to such hopes.
Caldwell-Pope enters tonight’s game averaging 14.3 points per game, but his scoring has been quite inefficient. He is shooting only 40.4 percent from the field this season, although he’s making 37.6 percent of his 3s.
Detroit needs Caldwell-Pope to play well in order to win. He didn’t play well the last time these teams met, as he logged only four points on 1-for-7 shooting. Caldwell-Pope is coming off an 18-point, seven-rebound performance last night in Charlotte.
Contain the ‘Others’
Caldwell-Pope could be considered one of Detroit’s ‘others.’ The ‘others,’ in Detroit’s case, are the players who surround Drummond and Tobias Harris.
Drummond is undoubtedly a star, and Harris is a good player, but they cannot win NBA games all by themselves. They need the team’s second-level players to help them out.
Tonight, those players will be Caldwell-Pope, Marcus Morris, Jon Leuer and Ish Smith. Regardless of what Drummond and Harris do, if Boston can slow the others down, it should be in position to grab a win.
Jerebko’s Hot Streak
Jonas Jerebko is quietly putting together the most efficient season of his seven-year career. He has been lights-out for the last two weeks.
Boston has played seven games since Nov. 15 and during those contests Jerebko has nailed 18 of his 22 shots. That’s 81.8 percent. Repeat: that’s 81.8 percent!. He has also shot 8-for-10 from long range during that span.
There’s no way Jerebko can continue shooting at that rate throughout the remainder of the season. But while he’s hot, the Celtics should look to get him the ball. No research is needed to understand that Jerebko is having one of the hottest stretches of shooting for a perimeter-oriented player in recent memory. It doesn’t get much better.