The Boston Celtics rebounded from a recent swoon by beating up on a few sub-.500 teams, but some significant tests are on the horizon. They will try to avoid looking too far ahead when they host the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday in the finale of a three-game homestand.
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After the Pistons leave town, Boston finishes a back-to-back with a visit to the NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks and four days later hosts the Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Lakers. The Celtics had dropped three in a row before knocking off New Orleans by 35 points to open the homestand and then riding Jayson Tatum's 21 points to a 113-101 win over Chicago on Monday. Two nights after the Pelicans were blown out in Boston, they defeated the Pistons in Detroit by a 117-110 margin in overtime. Derrick Rose scored 23 points to lead Detroit, which has dropped three straight and 12 of 15.
TIME: 7 p.m. ET. TV: FS Detroit, NBCS Boston
ABOUT THE PISTONS (14-27): Detroit has been playing shorthanded for some time and it went without star center Andre Drummond in the fourth quarter and overtime in Monday's loss, although coach Dwane Casey indicated the move was just in the flow of the game. "In a situation like that, we're looking for five or six men who are playing hard and who can finish the game for us," Casey told reporters. "It wasn't a message for Andre as much as a message for everyone who wasn't on the floor. The young guys were playing hard and earned the right to be out there." Christian Wood ate up most of those available minutes and finished with 18 points, nine rebounds, three blocked shots and two steals.
ABOUT THE CELTICS (27-11): Guard Marcus Smart endured some inconsistent efforts after returning from an eye issue that cost him eight games, but he has now put together a few solid performances and was the catalyst against the Bulls. "It feels good," Smart told reporters after posting 12 points, eight assists and three steals off the bench. "Those [three] weeks I was out really took a toll on me mentally, physically and emotionally - not being out there with those guys, and just really stuck in one room, in solitary confinement, and not being able to do anything. It was tough. So it feels good to get my legs back under me and to really get my wind back." Center Enes Kanter made his first start in nearly two months in Monday's win and finished with 15 points and nine rebounds.
1. Celtics C Daniel Theis (knee) sat out the win over Chicago and is day-to-day.
2. Drummond has logged a total of 41 minutes over the last two games after putting in a season-high 49 in an overtime loss to Cleveland on Thursday.
3. Tatum and G Jaylen Brown scored 26 points apiece to lead Boston to a 114-93 win in the first matchup Dec. 20.
News Breaking News
Key Players to Watch
- GroinQues Sun | questionable
Tatum missed the previous game with a right groin strain, and it has yet to be established if he will suit up Sunday against the Pelicans.
- HipOut Sun | out
Kanter missed the last game with a right hip contusion, and will not draw back into the lineup Sunday against the Pelicans.
- HandProb Sun | probable
Smart is expected to play in Sunday's contest against the Pelicans despite a sprained right hand.
- AnkleQues Sun | questionable
Brown has been held out of the previous two games with a right ankle sprain, and it is up in the air if he will face the Pelicans on Sunday.
- KneeProb Wed | probable
Walker is suffering from left knee soreness but is expected to suit up for Wednesday's battle versus the Grizzlies.
- ThumbProb Mon | probable
Brown has been held out of the previous two games due to a right thumb sprain, but he is expected to suit up for Monday's tilt versus the Lakers.
- KneeProb Mon | probable
Walker missed the previous contest due to left knee soreness, but it is likely he will be available for Monday's clash with the Lakers.
- HipLate Feb | out
Williams III has been diagnosed with a bone edema in his left hip. He is expected to be out of action though the All-Star break.
- UndisclosedQues Mon | questionable
Snell has sat out the last two games due to an undisclosed issue, and it is unknown if he will be available to face the Cavaliers on Monday.
- Kneeout for season | out
Griffin had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and is expected to miss the remainder of the 2019-20 season.
- BackQues Mon | questionable
Jackson missed the last game due to soreness in his back, and it is unclear if he will be active Monday against the Cavaliers.
- RestOut Sat | out
Jackson will not be available for Saturday's game against the Nets as he will receive a day of rest.
- MouthProb Sat | probable
Drummond has been held out of the last two games due to a lip laceration, but it is expected that he will suit up against the Nets on Saturday.
- FluProb Sat | probable
Brown has been absent from the lineup during the previous two games due to flu-like symptoms. It is projected that he will play Saturday against the Nets.
- FluProb Fri | probable
Frazier missed the previous game due to a flu bug, but he is expected to participate in Friday's tilt versus the Grizzlies.
- FootEarly Feb | out
Thomas is recovering from surgery on the fifth metatarsal of his right foot and is expected to be out until at least the beginning of February.