Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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NBA Preview: Boston Celtics (55-14) at Detroit Pistons (12-57)

The Boston Celtics are cruising along with a seven-game winning streak and the Eastern Conference leaders have a golden opportunity to keep the good times rolling during a six-game road trip.

The Celtics begin the journey against the downtrodden, depleted Detroit Pistons on Friday. As it stands now, Boston will only play one team with a winning record (the New Orleans Pelicans) during its trip.

The Celtics (55-14) already defeated the Pistons this week, recording a 119-94 home win on Monday despite starters Jayson Tatum and Jrue Holiday sitting out that contest.

Holiday also missed Wednesday’s contest against the Milwaukee Bucks due to a right shoulder contusion, but Tatum returned from an ankle injury to score 31 points in a 122-119 victory. They led by 18 points going into the fourth quarter, then shot 27.8 percent from the field in the final period before holding off the Bucks’ late rally.

All of the other victories during the current winning streak were decided by double digit margins.

The Pistons (12-57) need to win five more games to avoid tying or establishing a franchise record for the worst season in franchise history. Considering the state of the roster, it will be a tall task.

Detroit has lost four straight and is relying on two-way players and players on 10-day deals to fill out the rotation.

On Wednesday, the Pistons revealed that starting forward Ausar Thompson (blood clot) and Isaiah Stewart (hamstring strain) would miss the remainder of the season. They were also missing key reserves Simon Fontecchio and Quentin Grimes due to injury in Wednesday’s 122-103 home loss to Indiana.

Coach Monty Williams brushed off the notion that his team can’t compete with what they have.

Indiana scored the last nine points of the first half and extended its lead to as many as 26 in the third quarter.

Detroit has used 30 players this season, easily a franchise record.

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