NBA Basketball: Boston Celtics at Detroit Pistons - Pistons Favored
The last-place Boston Celtics look to snap out of a month-long funk when they visit the Eastern Conference-best Detroit Pistons on Tuesday.
The Celtics (12-34) set a franchise record with their 14th consecutive loss Friday night, 100-89 to the Los Angeles Clippers. Boston hasn't won since a 128-119 victory over Memphis - the only team in the league with a worse record than the Celtics - on Jan. 5.
Rookie Rajon Rondo had 23 points, six rebounds and six assists in his first career start on Friday, but the Celtics were outscored 33-20 in the fourth quarter en route to their franchise-record 11th straight home loss.
"It's just another loss that just keeps adding up," forward Ryan Gomes said. "It's a tough challenge because you come into this locker room and it's the same result over the last 14 games. It's hard to keep high spirits because it's not working out the way we want it to."
Getting their first win in more than a month won't be easy for the Celtics, who have lost 11 of their last 12 against the Pistons and are 3-18 on the road in the series since March 1995.
Paul Pierce had 33 points and nine rebounds in Boston's last win at The Palace of Auburn Hills on March 15, 2003, but he has missed the last 22 games with a stress fracture in his left foot and won't be in the lineup on Tuesday. The Celtics are 2-20 this season without their star forward.
"The plan is to stick together," Al Jefferson said. "We've got to stick together regardless of how bad it gets. We can't start turning on each other or pointing fingers at each other. The only reason we should be mad about anything right now is we should be mad about losing."
While the Celtics are in a tailspin, Detroit (28-18) is emerging as the team to beat in the East.
The Pistons have won seven of their last nine, including three straight. They are coming off Sunday's 90-78 win at Cleveland, which held the Central Division lead for much of the season before Detroit's recent surge.
Chauncey Billups led six Pistons in double figures with 18 points and 10 assists, and Rasheed Wallace and Chris Webber added 15 points apiece for the Pistons.
The addition of Webber to the lineup has triggered Detroit's recent success. In their 10 games prior to his signing, the Pistons were 3-7. Since Webber's arrival, they are 7-3 and their three losses have come by a combined nine points.
"It feels good to be on a good team," Webber said. "At any moment any guy we have can start carrying the load."
This is the third of four meetings between these teams this season. Detroit has taken the first two matchups, including an 81-73 win on Jan. 13. They meet again in Boston on April 18 in the regular-season finale for both team.
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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