Celtics-Pistons preview: Stay on the glass

Celtics-Pistons preview: Stay on the glass
November 3, 2013, 12:45 pm
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One of the few positives the Celtics can take away from their first two games is the improvement in their rebounding. It's a trend they will need to continue tonight against a Pistons team that will undoubtedly be their greatest rebounding challenge to date.

Detroit (1-1) has a plus 4.5 rebounding differential per game which ranks fourth in the NBA. And while it's still early in the season to read too much into the numbers, no one questions the fact that Detroit is one of the league's elite rebounding squads.

"(Detroit's) front line is ridiculously long with Josh Smith playing the three (small forward), (Greg) Monroe at the four (power forward) and (Andre) Drummond at the five (center)," said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. "They do a great job of getting to the glass."

Boston seems to be turning the corner when it comes to rebounding after years spent at or near the bottom of most rebounding statistical categories. But there is still plenty of room for improvement.

There is clear progress in the Celtics' 42.5 rebounds per game which ranks 16th in the NBA. However, their rebounding differential is minus-2. That puts them in the bottom 10, 25th overall, in that category.

Holding their own against a formidable Detroit frontline will give the Celtics a better chance of not just winning, but putting more distance between themselves and a heart-breaking 105-98 home loss to Milwaukee on Friday after having led by as many as 22 points in the second half.

"It's hard," Stevens said of the Bucks loss. "I watched the game before I came home (Friday night)."

He had an array of clips made up to review with the team, but opted to go in a slightly different direction.

"I thought it was most important to address a couple of things in a quick huddle and then move forward," Stevens said. "They're all hurting from the loss. There's different ways to react to it individually and collectively, but the one thing we can't do is let it affect us (tonight against Detroit)."

Here are a few more keys to tonight's game...

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: The Celtics know they can't just become a shot-chucking team, but there's no question they have to find ways to get more 3-point shot attempts. They average 14.5 threes per game through two games, which ranks 28th in the league. That's not nearly enough attempts for a team that's admittedly undersized most nights in the frontcourt.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Vitor Faverani vs. Andre Drummond: Faverani is now near the top of the Pistons' scouting report courtesy of a 12-point, 18-rebound, six-blocked shot effort in Boston's loss to Milwaukee. He faces an athletic big with similar rebounding skills who, like Faverani, is getting better with experience.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Avery Bradley has been on the bench more than anyone anticipated, with the 6-foot-2 guard fouling out in each of Boston's first two games. To put that in perspective, the fourth-year guard had only fouled out of three games in his career prior to this season.

STAT TO TRACK: Turnovers have been an issue for both Boston and Detroit who each commit 19.5 per game which is tied for 27th-highest in the NBA. However, the Celtics are only forcing opponents to commit 12.5 per game which makes their seven turnover per game differential second only to Houston (7.7) this season. Closing that turnover differential gap will go far in Boston's quest for the team's first win of the season.