Coming off big victory, Pistons visit Boston
Josh Smith looks to stay hot for Detroit
The Detroit Pistons will be coming off their biggest win of the season when they invade Boston on Wednesday night in a matchup of two teams inching toward the .500 mark. The Pistons, who opened 6-10, won for the sixth time in their last 10 games with a victory Monday at Eastern Conference-leading Indiana, which had been unbeaten at home. Coupled with wins at Miami, Chicago and Milwaukee earlier this month, the victory helped cement Detroit's status as one of the conference's best road teams.
Boston has won two straight, five of seven and eight of 12 after a 101-97 victory over Minnesota on Monday. Jared Sullinger had another solid performance with 24 points, including a critical 3-pointer down the stretch, as the Celtics improved to 2-1 thus far on a five-game home stand. Boston had a season-high 25 turnovers and scored a season-low 77 points in a 10-point loss at Detroit on Nov. 3.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, FSN Detroit, CSN New England (Boston)
ABOUT THE PISTONS (12-14): The win over the Pacers came one night after Detroit took Western Conference-leading Portland to overtime before falling by two points, signaling again that the Pistons are prepared to battle with anyone.
"We're forming an identity ourselves," forward Josh Smith said after the win while talking about Detroit's physical ways.
The Pistons outrebounded Indiana 55-40, grabbing 20 on the offensive end, and entered Tuesday as the only team in the NBA ranked in the top 10 in rebounding margin (+3.5), blocked shots (5.1) and forced turnovers (16.5).
ABOUT THE CELTICS (12-14): Sullinger's emergence has dramatically altered the outlook for Boston, as the second-year pro has picked up much of the slack expected to linger when Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were traded and Rajon Rondo underwent knee surgery. In fact, Sullinger's numbers are virtually identical to those that Garnett had last season.
While Sullinger led the way Monday, reserve forward Kris Humphries returned from a knee injury to contribute with eight points on 4-of-5 shooting and seven boards in 21 minutes. The duo gives some physicality to a team that has been dominated on the interior at times this season.
1. Sullinger leads the Celtics with a +3.5 plus/minus rating while Humphries ranks second at +2.3, which is equal to Houston All-Star C Dwight Howard.
2. Smith is averaging 30.5 points and seven rebounds in his last two games.
3. Boston F Jeff Green is averaging 21.8 points in his team's last six losses and just 13 points in the last five wins.