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Sunday, November 3, 2013
W2W4: C's vs. Pistons (Game 3 of 82)

By Chris Forsberg

The Boston Celtics (0-2, 0-1 away) visit the Detroit Pistons (1-1, 1-0 home) at The Palace of Auburn Hills on Sunday night (6 p.m., CSN). Here's what to watch for:

* THE 48-MINUTE, UNSELFISH EFFORT: The Celtics have been spectacular for a total of about 48 minutes this season -- alas, they've played 96 thus far. Lulls -- like in the second and fourth quarters vs. Toronto, and the second half vs. Milwaukee -- have allowed the opposition to emerge with the win. The Celtics felt like they found a blueprint for success -- particularly on offense -- in the first half against the Bucks and need that for 48 minutes. "Offensively, we moved the ball, we attacked the rim, we were able to get out and score, get easy baskets, our bigs were able to pound on the offensive boards," said Gerald Wallace. "It’s exactly the blueprint of what we want to be as a team."

* FOCUS ON THE GLASS: It's a tiny sample size, but the Pistons enter Sunday's action with the fourth best rebound percentage in the league (and third best on the offensive glass). The Celtics might actually be 2-0 if they had taken care of the glass these first two games and Detroit's versatile and athletic frontcourt (Josh Smith, Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe) is really going to challenge Boston's bigs.

* VALUE THE BALL: The Celtics were spectacular at taking care of the basketball in the preseason. Through two games in the regular season? They are dead last in the NBA with a turnover percentage of 21 percent. Teams prone to offensive lulls can't win games giving the ball away that much. If the turnover spike again Sunday, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Phil Pressey get another look to help steady the second-unit offense.

* PICK UP THE PACE: Boston wants to be a running team, right? Well, the Celtics are dead last in pace at the moment, averaging just 92.4 possessions per 48 minutes (for comparison sake, those overachieving Philadelphia 76ers are at a league-best 103.2 possessions. Boston can take some of the stagnation out of its offense by pushing the pace and creating more advantageous matchups in transition.