Pistons at Celtics Game Preview - Feb. 15, 2012
A stellar performance from Rajon Rondo over the weekend allowed the Boston Celtics to avoid a third consecutive loss.
The Celtics might need to rely even more heavily on their point guard in the near future.
Injuries are accumulating for Boston, and Kevin Garnett is one of the players whose status is unknown for Wednesday night's visit from the Detroit Pistons.
Rondo's ninth career triple-double and second this season - 32 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds - led the way in Sunday's 95-91 home victory over Eastern Conference-leading Chicago.
"The way he played tonight, we're a pretty tough team to stop," captain Paul Pierce said after the Celtics avoided a three-game skid.
Garnett finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds, but struggled with pain from an injured hip flexor. He sat out practice Tuesday and coach Doc Rivers said his timetable for returning would likely be determined before the game against Detroit.
"It's nothing bad with Kevin," Rivers told the Celtics' official website. "(Head athletic trainer Eddie Lacerte) really suggested two days off, and then he said today maybe three days off, so we'll find that out tomorrow."
If he's out, Garnett will join Brandon Bass - sidelined for two weeks with a sore right knee - and possibly Jermaine O'Neal, who is dealing with soreness in three areas on his left side. Mickael Pietrus' status is also doubtful because of an ailing knee.
Even short-handed, the Celtics (15-12) might get by against the Pistons (8-22), who are 2-12 on the road this season. Detroit earned one of those two wins last Wednesday against New Jersey as part of a four-game overall winning streak.
The Pistons have cooled off since then, and have lost their last two games including Tuesday's 99-95 home loss to San Antonio. Detroit rallied to take a three-point lead with 4:26 remaining after trailing by 15 early in the fourth quarter, but the comeback ultimately came up short.
"Five of the last six games, we've played high-level basketball," coach Lawrence Frank told the team's website. "It's not always going to be a beautiful picture, but we showed some resolve."
Rodney Stuckey had a team-best 23 points and shot 8 of 12 in Tuesday's defeat, but Greg Monroe missed nine of his 11 shots from the field and finished with four points. Monroe had averaged 21.3 points on 60.5 percent shooting in his first six February games.
Monroe had 22 points in Boston on Dec. 30, but no other Pistons player scored more than 11 in a 96-85 defeat. O'Neal had 19 points to lead four Celtics in in double figures.
Boston has won six of seven overall against Detroit and four in a row at home in the series. This will be the fourth consecutive meeting between the teams at TD Garden.
Pierce finished with 12 points in the December meeting - his season debut after he missed Boston's first three straight games with a bruised right heel. He had averaged 24.5 points on 63.0 percent shooting - 12 of 21 from 3-point range - over his previous four matchups with the Pistons.
Rondo hasn't scored in double figures against the Pistons since finishing with 15 points during a 105-100 win in Detroit on March 2, 2010. He's averaged 6.2 points on 35.1 percent shooting over his last five matchups versus Detroit.