Despite suffering through a 2-9 stretch, the Detroit Pistons continue to cling to playoff hopes as they visit the Boston Celtics on Sunday. The Pistons are chasing Atlanta for eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 20 contests left but will need to find a way to break through on the road, where they have dropped eight straight. The Celtics are a win streak from getting into contention as well if they can improve an offense ranked 27th in the NBA in scoring average (95.3).
Rajon Rondo has raised his game over the last five for Boston, averaging 17.2 points and 9.6 assists, and will be challenged by fellow ultra-quick point guard Brandon Jennings. The key battle might be inside, though, where Detroit leads the league in points in the paint. The Pistons were outscored in that area by the Celtics in the last meeting – a 107-106 Detroit victory on Dec. 18. Boston defeated Brooklyn 91-84 on Friday and is 2-2 in its last four.
TV: 6 p.m. ET, NBATV, FSN Detroit, CSN New England (Boston)
ABOUT THE PISTONS (24-38): Coach John Loyer said the lack of defense early led to poor offense as Detroit fell behind by 20 in the first 10 minutes at Minnesota on Friday and trailed by as much as 31 before losing 114-101. Jennings snapped out of a slump with 17 points against the Timberwolves after going 20-of-64 from the field over the previous seven games and leads the Pistons in scoring (16.6). Josh Smith is just behind Jennings at 16.4 and Greg Monroe averages 14.8 points after scoring 20 and grabbing 15 rebounds Friday.
ABOUT THE CELTICS (21-41): Rondo recorded 20 points, nine assists and seven rebounds in the victory over Brooklyn as Boston survived a season-high 28 turnovers to improve to 13-19 at home. Jeff Green (16.8) has led the Celtics in scoring much of the season and produced at least 21 points in four of the last seven games, but only 19 combined in the last two. Jared Sullinger registered double-doubles in seven of nine games before suffering a concussion and is averaging 8.7 points and 7.3 boards in three contests since his return.
1. Boston is tied for ninth in the league in points allowed (99) while Detroit ranks 26th (103.6).
2. Detroit C Andre Drummond has 44 double-doubles, ranking second in the league behind Minnesota’s Kevin Love (51).
3. The Pistons have won six of the last seven against the Celtics, including a pair of victories this season.