We are live from courtside for tonight’s showdown between the Celtics  and the Pistons. When last we left Detroit, the re-configured Pistons looked dazed and confused as they tried to adjust to life without their spiritual leader, Chancey Billups, and to life with the new jet-engine, Allen Iverson . The Celtics, without even playing particularly well, dusted the Pistons in Dee-troit.
But since then the Pistons have won four of five, including an impressive victory over the Lakers–the first, and only team, to score a win against LA. The difference? The running game. Doc Rivers  warned of Piston fastbreaks started by a flying AI and finished off by a trailing Rasheed Wallace  knocking down 3-pointers (watch for ‘Sheed in transition tonight, in other words).
So, what will it be tonight? Will it be three in a row for the defending champs? Will it be a statement win for the Pistons? Will Kevin Garnett’s trash talk be PG-rated? (Yes, that was a rhetorical question.) Come one, come all for all the action, updated all night long.
— FIRST QUARTER WRAP: A cheap second foul on Perkins put a slight damper on this one, but all in all, an entertaining opening 12 minutes. Iverson has been everywhere, but Rondo was the star of the quarter with nine points and three assists. Take it away, Jess.
— Tony Allen  is feeling it tonight. He’s been good on both ends of the floor and was under control and in rhythm on that jump shot.
— My buddy Jon, who blogs Celtics games for Slam some nights, loves Rodney Stuckey . That errant pass was for you, pal.
— Pierce wants Tayshaun Prince  tonight. You can bet that the Captain doesn’t like the notion that Tayshaun plays well against him.
Strange start to this one. Both teams are shooting over 50 percent, but you wouldn’t say it’s because of a lack of defense. Both teams are just playing hard, to quote Rasheed Wallace. (Something just hit me, does any team in the NBA have two players with press conferences as memorable as AI’s “we talkin’ ’bout practice” and Sheed’s “Both teams played hard,” which I thought was actually kind of genius).
— Rasheed Wallace was, uh, slightly perturbed by that last call. The refs are letting them play for the most part, but we’ll see if that lasts. It is physical out there.
— Quick sub by Doc going with Tony Allen. Ray Allen  played a lot of minutes Tuesday, and chasing Rip Hamilton all over the court is no one’s idea of an easy night, so maybe Doc’s trying to steals some rest for Ray.
— That’s what he needs to do. Look, Rondo is going to have some ups and downs. Despite all of his experience-gathering last year, he is still learning on the job, but if the Celtics are going to be the Celtics, they need Rondo to do his thing (even if it means going 3-for-15 some nights).
— Rondo’s over-thinking again.
— If you had less than a minute in the Offensive Foul on Perkins pool, you’re a winner.
— Kwame Brown’s been starting for the Pistons lately, and the former No. 1 pick has been surprisingly decent, averaging about 8 points and 3 rebounds. Not earth-shattering production mind you, but considering his career it’s kind of amazing that he’s starting for a legit contender.
I think it’s fair to wonder what his career might have been like if he hadn’t been not just the No. 1 pick, but the No. 1 pick by Michael Jordan . By all accounts, Jordan was merciless with the kid.
On an entirely different topic, KG is hyped.