BOSTON — The Boston Celtics take on the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday in Boston. Here are four things to keep an eye on.
1. Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving will miss Wednesday’s game against the Detroit Pistons with a strained right knee, but Celtics coach Brad Stevens believes he should play in the All-Star game if he’s healthy, despite missing two games prior.
“I was actually asked about this on the radio, I haven’t put much time and thought into it, really,” Stevens said. “But he’s been day-to-day. I think that there would be a chance that, if we played Friday or Saturday that he’d be cleared, and I guess my thought would be, if he would have been cleared for us on Friday or Saturday, then he should probably play. If there’s any issues at all and he’s not 110 percent, I would not play. The reason I say that is because you’re going to have to get your basketball activity in regardless. You need to get up and down the court. We can’t do anything, per NBA rules, until mid-next week when we get back together. To me it makes sense but if he’s 100 percent. He’s got to be 100 percent.”
2. Stevens is very process-oriented, and occasionally he is clearly displeased with his team even after wins. That wasn’t the case after Tuesday’s victory over the Sixers.
“Every possession mattered and we played that way,” Stevens said. “When we lost those leads last week, we didn’t treat every possession the same way. And when things got tough we splintered, as Marcus documented well. Last night, when things got tough, we stayed together, we played the right way, and that’s what you have to do. That’s why last night’s result was a lot less important than just the way that we played.”
3. Like everyone else, Brad Stevens is looking forward to the break.
“It’s a good time for everybody,” Stevens said. “The one thing the NBA didn’t do when it adjusted its schedule forward, starting games on Oct. 17, was they didn’t move the all-star break forward, so you’re playing more games the last two years than have ever been played in a row, and you can see it’s ultimately something people look forward to, but you don’t want to look ahead. We have a game to play tonight against a team playing tonight, and if we can leave it on the court that’s what we hope to do.”
4. Dwane Casey had high praise for Jayson Tatum pre-game.
“This is a matchup-driven league,” Casey said. “You can do some different things as far as blitzing and all that other stuff, but at the end of the day, especially against this team, it’s going to come down to a 1-on-1 situation, and Tatum is one of the best in the league at drawing fouls, getting to the rim, getting where he wants to go. It’ll be a group effort to try to slow him down. They have some of their guys out, he’s one of the key guys that’s possibly going to step up and see his attempts go up.”
Tatum, incidentally, does not get to the line often. But he has been improving, and the Pistons may have their hands full.
The Celtics and Pistons tip off at 7:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Boston.