BIRMINGHAM, Mich. Forcing the Chicago Bulls into turning the ball over 21 times on Friday was considered a pretty good night for the Boston Celtics.
But it meant very little . . . literally. Look just a tad bit deeper into the numbers, and you'll see that Chicago's mistakes only netted the C's seven points. Seven points!
Doing a better job of making a team pay for its mistakes will be important for the C's tonight against a Detroit Pistons team that, on paper at least, seems to be just what the Celtics need right now.
Detroit (14-25) comes in ranked 24th in turnovers, with 15.2 per game. According to teamrankings.com, 14.2 percent of the Pistons' plays this season result in a turnover, which puts them 27th in the league.
Boston (20-19) has lost two in a row and its inability to convert opponent turnovers into points has been part of the problem.
In the C's last two games, they have forced a total of 39 turnovers but have only converted those mistakes into 25 points.
"You should score at least one point per turnover," said coach Doc Rivers. "And on a good night, it would be nice to have more."
The C's are certainly looking for a good night -- and a win -- against a Detroit team that has won its last three matchups against Boston, including a 20-point thumping of the Celtics at The Palace of Auburn Hills on Nov. 18.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR: The Celtics are a bon- fide jump-shooting team, but they may not have much of a choice against Detroit. In addition to being one of the league's best rebounding teams, the Pistons are also one of the NBA's best at blocking shots. Their 5.7 blocks per game ranks ninth in the league this season.
MATCHUP TO WATCH: Jared Sullinger vs. Andre Drummond: While there's a lot more star power than these two on display, both have been coming on strong of late for their respective teams, to the point where one has to legitimately question whether they have earned the right to start. Look for these two Rookie of the Year candidates to be difference-makers off the bench.
PLAYER TO WATCH: With the Celtics coming off back-to-back losses, don't be surprised to see Paul Pierce have a huge game. He's averaging a team-best 19.3 points per game this season, but has averaged just 12.5 points in Boston's last two games -- both losses.
STAT TO TRACK: Boston's second unit has to step up tonight, and it'll have to do it against a Detroit team whose backups rank among the league's best in terms of scoring. According to Hoopsstats.com, Detroit's second unit ranks ninth in the league in scoring (37 points per game) while the C's backup bunch comes in at No. 18, with a 31.3 points-per-game average.