The Detroit Pistons are coming off three losses to start the season, including a heart-breaker in Chicago where they squandered a 21-point lead and got run out of the gym in the fourth quarter. Worse yet, they look like they will be without key players Richard Hamilton, Charlie Villanueva and Will Bynum. Oh yeah, and they are playing the Boston Celtics, a one-time rival who so far eclipses the Pistons in terms of talent that I think Beantown must just view this as another game on the schedule.
Boston has struggled offensively somewhat in the earlygoings this season, but they still play their brand of suffocating team defense. And one player who hasn’t struggled is Rajon Rondo who has been dishing out assists like Johnny Appleseed and continues to make the Celtics his team.
To counteract that, the Pistons are going to need a big game from Rodney Stuckey. Fresh off not getting an extension (and seeing a fellow point guard from his draft class, Mike Conley, ink a $45-million deal before the deadline), hopefully Stuckey plays with a purpose and continues the encouraging trend of playing smart, hard-nosed Piston basketball, limiting his mistakes and finding open teammates. He will have his hands full guarding Rondo, so I wouldn’t mind him take somewhat of a backseat in the scoring department so he can focus on his D. It will be important for the Piston big men to limit penetration and stop defensive breakdowns. With Kendrick Perkins and Shaquille O’Neal out, and Jermaine O’Neal hobbled, it is a good game for the Pistons to not have to worry about big-time post scorers, and hopefully Detroit can hold its own on the glass.