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Fast break: Celtics-Pistons 03.02.10 at 10:15 pm ET
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The Celtics don’t need to care about style point right now, which is good because there weren’t many to be had Tuesday night in Detroit. For three quarters they couldn’t shake the Pistons, who at 21-39 are the definition of lackluster. That the Celtics came away with a 105-100 victory is really the only thing that matters.

The big picture is still cloudy for this team, and it will take much better efforts than this to compete with elite teams in the Eastern Conference. Perhaps a win like this will finally convince the Celtics that this is their reality now. Perhaps not. We’ll simply have to wait and see if they are ready to move beyond their professed “boredom” and get to work.

In the meantime they will surely take a win, no matter how unsightly or ugly it was. If they are looking for positive signs, their bench was the difference-maker, particularly Nate Robinson, who came to the rescue in the fourth quarter. Rajon Rondo, who had one of the worst 15-point, 11-assist games you will ever see, managed to make all four of his free throws in the final minute.

But the most important thing was the victory. Now they have to do it again Wednesday night in Boston.

Turning Point: Trailing by three points at the start of the fourth quarter, the Celtics bench took over. Up to that point there had not been much of note for the second unit. But then Nate Robinson got hot and Glen Davis got active. The bench went on 17-6 run that gave the Celtics an 89-81 lead.

Player of the Game: Rasheed Wallace didn’t score the most points and he didn’t grab the most rebounds. He didn’t dominate in the paint and he didn’t bury a bunch of 3-pointers. He did, however, play the kind of defense the Celtics expect from him and he did take good shots within the rhythm of the offense. Wallace also had a big block on Jonas Jerkebo down the stretch, making his second game in Detroit a little more memorable than the first.

* Robinson played the majority of the fourth quarter and scored 14 points in just 15 minutes of action. He energized the Celtics offensively.

* Ray Allen scored 18 points and he did most of his damage in the second half when the Celtics needed it the most. He also had a bizarre turnover when he simply slipped and lost the ball out of bounds.

* Detroit shot 3-for-20 from 3-point range, while the C’s went 9-for-18.

* Paul Pierce returned to the lineup after missing the last three games games. Pierce drained a 3-pointer and didn’€™t appear to favor his injured thumb. He finished with nine points, one rebound and one assist in 29 minutes.

* The news wasn’€™t so good on Kendrick Perkins who sat out the game with the flu. This is the first game that Perkins has missed all season. With Perkins out, Shelden Williams became the second big man off the bench in Doc Rivers‘€™ rotation. He has played just seven minutes since Jan. 14.

* Austin Daye, the son of former Celtic Darren Daye, had a big half with nine points and four rebounds for Detroit.

* Kevin Garnett picked up a technical foul late in the half.

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Third quarter: Celtics-Pistons at 9:34 pm ET
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After three quarters, the Piston lead 75-72 and this game looks like it’s going to go down to the wire. The Celtics led by as many as eight points, but they haven’t been able to put Detroit away.

The Celtics have had balanced scoring at least. All five starters have at least seven points. Ray Allen leads them with 12 points, while Rajon Rondo has 11 points and 11 assists.

Rookie Jonas Jerkebo has been a major problem for the Celtics tonight. He has 14 points and six rebounds and has been all over the floor offensively and defensively. Detroit’s Tayshaun Prince rolled his ankle on teammate Ben Gordon’s foot late in the quarter.

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Halftime: Celtics-Pistons at 8:52 pm ET
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After 24 minutes at the Palace the Celtics once again find themselves with work to do against a sub. 500 team. Still, the Celtics will take their 55-52 lead, no matter how poorly they played.

Detroit still can’t find the range from long distance (0-for-10), but the Pistons have done their work inside, particularly Jason Maxiell who has four of their nine offensive rebounds.

Rajon Rondo has 11 points and six assists, but he also has four turnovers, and did not play well until the final minutes of the half. The one bright spot for the Celtics was the play of Shelden Williams who saw his first significant action in over a month and responded with four points and two rebounds in eight minutes.

Austin Daye, the son of former Celtic Darren Daye, had a big half with nine points and four rebounds for Detroit.

Kevin Garnett picked up a technical foul late in the half.

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First quarter: Celtics-Pistons at 8:14 pm ET
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It wasn’t a thing of beauty but the Celtics and Pistons played to a 25-25 tie after one quarter. The Celtics shot just 39 percent, but went 3-for-5 from 3-point range. The Pistons weren’t much better missing all five of their 3-point attempts and turning the ball over five times.

Paul Pierce returned to the lineup after missing the last three games games. Pierce drained a 3-pointer and didn’t appear to favor his injured thumb. The news wasn’t so good on Kendrick Perkins who sat out the game with the flu. This is the first game that Perkins has missed all season.

With Perkins out, Shelden Williams became the second big man off the bench in Doc Rivers‘ rotation. He has played just seven minutes since Jan. 14.

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Perk out sick 03.01.10 at 12:58 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Kendrick Perkins did not practice on Monday and is not making the afternoon trip with the team to Detroit, according to the team.

Perkins, who played in the team’s loss to New Jersey on Saturday, became sick over the weekend, the latest player to battle flu-like symptoms. The Celtics play in Detroit on Tuesday before returning home for a game against Charlotte at TD Garden on Wednesday. Marquis Daniels and Paul Pierce had to miss parts of last week with flu-like symptoms.

‘€œIf he’€™s feeling better he’€™s going to fly up [Tuesday] to the game,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “Obviously, I don’€™t see that happening but if he’€™s feeling a lot better, we’€™ll have him do that. We just have so many guys that aren’€™t feeling well right now that we can’€™t afford to even have a guy around anybody else to let it start up again. We’€™re taking a different measure right now. We’€™re keeping all unhealthy people away from each other right now, even with injuries. Just stay away.’€

If Perkins can’t go, Rivers said Wallace would likely start in Perkins’ place at center.

Read More: Celtics, Kendrick Perkins, NBA, Pistons
Pierce will travel, could play Tuesday 02.27.10 at 12:50 pm ET
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Doc Rivers said before Saturday’s game against New Jersey that Paul Pierce would miss his third straight game with a sprained right thumb but the coach is hopeful Pierce could return by the team’s next game on Tuesday in Detroit.

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Preview: Celtics vs. Pistons 01.20.10 at 10:27 am ET
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Kevin Garnett is close to coming back for the Celtics. He practiced Tuesday and might play Friday against the Blazers, although that seems a little optimistic considering how cautious everyone has been with his various leg injuries.

The question for Garnett and the Celtics is: Which KG will we see on the floor? The one at the beginning of the season was tentative and out of rhythm offensively. The KG we saw before the injury was one of the best shooting big men in the NBA and a strong rebounder. Even when he’s not at his best, Garnett remains an excellent passer and a terrific help-side defender, and the Celtics have been struggling with stagnant offense and sub-par defensive rotations.

It’s too much to ask Garnett for him to pick up right where we he left off, but he needs to be that player again at least by the All-Star break if the Celtics are going to have any time to get everything in place for the playoffs. Marquis Daniels is also tentatively scheduled to be back by that point and that would be the first time this season the Celtics would have their nine-man rotation fully upright and operational.

CELTICS (27-12, 4-6 last 10)

Points Per Game: 100.2

Points Allowed: 93.8

Differential: +6.4 (Second)

Offensive Efficiency: 108.7 (10th)

Defensive Efficiency: 101.7 (Third)

Pace: 91.7 (21st)

Likely Starters: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Rasheed Wallace, Kendrick Perkins

Injuries: Kevin Garnett (hyper-extended knee), Marquis Daniels (wrist)

PISTONS (14-26, 3-7 last 10)

Points Per Game: 92.2

Points Allowed: 97.1

Differential: -4.9 (27th)

Offensive Efficiency: 103.6 (24th)

Defensive Efficiency: 109.9 (21st)

Pace: 88.5 (29th)

Likely Starters: Rodney Stuckey, Rip Hamilton, Jonas Jerebko, Chris Wilcox, Ben Wallace

Injuries: Will Bynum (ankle), Ben Gordon (questionable, strained groin), Tayshaun Prince (questionable, knee) Read the rest of this entry »

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