W2W4: C's vs. Pistons (Game 77 of 82)

The Boston Celtics (23-53, 8-29 away) visit the Detroit Pistons (27-49, 16-23 home) on Saturday night at The Palace of Auburn Hills (7:30 p.m., CSN). Here's what to watch for:

  • SHORT-HANDED C'S: The Celtics will be missing three starters in Rajon Rondo (rest), Avery Bradley (right Achilles strain), and Kris Humphries (right knee tendinitis). That means Boston will have only nine available bodies, two of which were healthy DNPs in Friday's loss to the lowly Philadelphia 76ers in Chris Babb and Joel Anthony. That said, with any sort of pressure off and more freedom to just go play, this could be the sort of night where Boston overachieves and finds a way to win. Then again, after losing to the 76ers for the second time at home this season, this could also be a night where Boston just gets streamrolled on the second night of a back-to-back.

  • MISERY LOVES COMPANY: The Pistons are another team that knows what it's like to lose to the 76ers (Philly snapped its record-tying 26-game losing streak against the 76ers last month). Detroit has lost 20 of its last 25 games, including Friday's tilt in Brooklyn. The Pistons, once in the mix for a playoff spot, are back in familiar lottery position. Regardless, Boston's undersized frontcourt will have to find a way to slow the Andre Drummond/Greg Monroe combo.

  • LOOSE BALLS: This is the fourth and final meeting between the two teams this season. The Pistons lead the series, 2-1, with the Celtics claiming a 118-111 victory in Boston last month. ... Celtics coach Brad Stevens said he was uncertain about his lineup, even before he knew of Humphries' injury. With Jerryd Bayless in one starting guard role, Boston has some flexibility. It could put sparkplug Phil Pressey at the 1, or put Bayless on ballhandling duties and roll with someone like Chris Johnson at the 2. ... Kelly Olynyk started the second half in place of Humphries on Friday, but the Celtics could also put Jared Sullinger back in the starting lineup next to Brandon Bass. ... Boston, which owns the fourth-worst record in basketball, sits two games in front of Orlando with six games to play.

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