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Sunday, November 18, 2012
W2W4: Celtics vs. Pistons (Game 11 of 82)

By Chris Forsberg

Allen Einstein/NBAE/Getty ImagesCeltics captain Paul Pierce goes to the hoop against the Pistons.
Coming off their most convincing victory of the season on Saturday against the Toronto Raptors, the Boston Celtics (6-4, 3-2 away) visit the Detroit Pistons (1-9, 0-3 home) on the second night of a back-to-back at The Palace of Auburn Hills (7:30 p.m., CSN). Here's what to watch for:

* C'S WELL RESTED: The Celtics are 2-1 on the tail end of a back-to-back on the road so far this season, but energy levels shouldn't be an overwhelming problem here. The Celtics had a matinee matchup Saturday, giving them a little extra recovery time before Sunday night's game, and Kevin Garnett (17 minutes) and Paul Pierce (25) both played mangeable minutes in that lopsided win over the Raptors. The one person to watch remains Rajon Rondo, whose ankle looked just fine in handing out 20 assists in Saturday's win, but coach Doc Rivers would seemingly tread carefully with him in a back-to-back situation.

* SYNERGY SNAPSHOT: The Pistons rank in the lower third of the league in terms of total offense (0.882 points per play, 22nd overall), according to Synergy Sports data. Ironically, Detroit actually is in the top third of the league in spot-up shooting (10th), but doesn't do much well beyond that. Defensively, old friend Lawrence Frank hasn't been able to put his stamp on this squad, which ranks 25th in the league. The Pistons have actually done a solid job defending both spot-up and transition opportunities -- Boston's two most common play types -- but Detroit simply hasn't been very good in the halfcourt set overall and the Celtics will look to exploit with their Rondo-fueled ball movement.

* MORE OF THAT BENCH MOB: The Celtics' five-man bench of Chris Wilcox, Jared Sullinger, Courtney Lee, Leandro Barbosa, and Jeff Green turned in maybe their finest effort of the season Saturday, combining for 41 points and breaking the game open late in the third quarter (giving the group extended playing time in the fourth quarter). Against an inferior opponent, Boston would be well served if it could lean on that bench mob again.

* FREE DARKO?: Back in his old stomping grounds of Detroit, why not turn Darko Milicic loose tonight if the opportunity presents itself? If nothing else, the Celtics might need an extra big man (or some extra fouls) if Greg Monroe gets going.