The Boston Celtics (12-14, 7-6 home) host the Detroit Pistons (12-14, 6-6 away) on Wednesday night at TD Garden (7:30 p.m., CSN). Here's what to watch for:
STEVENS' SCOUTING REPORT: The Pistons enter after a 101-96 win over the East-leading Indiana Pacers. Asked if that raised his eyebrows, Celtics coach Brad Stevens said, "I’ve always thought they were one of the more talented teams, especially in the East. They’ve got a [swingman] whose playing like an All-Star in Josh Smith, who is not your normal [swingman]. You’ve got a guy like [Greg] Monroe who is a bonafide scorer, who can get the ball on either block and score it, or drive it from the elbow and score it, can make midrange shots. [The Pistons have], probably other than Dwight Howard, maybe the next most athletic center in the league in Andre Drummond. And then you got perimeter guys in [Rodney] Stuckey, [Brandon] Jennings, and [Chauncey] Billups -- on down the line -- [Will] Bynum, [Kentavious] Caldwell-Pope is playing well. They can go off. You’ve got a lot of guys that can do a lot of things. And so they’re a very formidable group."
HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW?: The Celtics started the season a mere 2-5 at TD Garden, but have won five of their last six at home. Stevens has stressed that he's not a big home/road guy, believing it all comes down to how your team plays. But admits the home support has been great. "You’re talking about consistency in results, where I’m more focused on how we’re playing," Stevens said when the recent success was noted. "I don’t know that we’ve played as well the last two games as we did in some of our losses. I think the bottom line is that we’ve been fortunate to win. We’ve got a great home court, because our crowds are great. And hopefully we can continue to get the results we want, but play better and that’s what we’ll strive to do any time we’re playing, but certainly at home."
SMITH IN FOCUS: Josh Smith is coming off back-to-back 30-point efforts, particularly impressive considering he did it against the Pacers and their league-best field goal defense last time out. Boston hasn't allowed a 30-point scorer yet this season. The Pistons' offensive rating jumps six points per 100 possessions with Smith on the floor. With Smith making a more consistent effort to work in the post, the Celtics must find a way to prevent the Pistons from generating points in the paint (Detroit owned a 53-38 there during the first meeting last month).
WHAT ELSE?: It goes without saying, but the Celtics MUST clean the defensive glass. The Pistons rank No. 1 in the NBA in offensive rebound percentage (and are fourth in total rebound percentage). ... All five of Boston's starters are averaging 10+ points per game this season, topped by Jeff Green at 16.5 points per game. ... Both teams are 6-4 in their last 10 games.