Short-handed Celtics prepare to host Pistons

NBA Basketball
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The banged-up Boston Celtics begin a stretch of four of five games at home Friday night when they host the Detroit Pistons.

The Celtics enter off a 109-103 win over the Mavericks in Dallas on Wednesday, in which they played without forward Gordon Hayward (sore left foot), guard Marcus Smart (left eye infection), and big men Vincent Poirier (right pinkie fracture) and Robert Williams III (sore left hip).

Hayward, now questionable, is the only one of that group with a chance to play Friday, while guard Brad Wanamaker (left ankle sprain) has been added to the injury list as probable.

The Pistons are in much better shape health-wise, though they’re without key reserve Christian Wood, who underwent an MRI on his knee Thursday and has already been ruled out for Friday’s game. Detroit has lost three of four.

Boston is 10-1 at home this season, its only loss coming Thursday against the Philadelphia 76ers. After that game, the Celtics had five days off before blowing past the Mavericks on the strength of 82 combined points from Kemba Walker (32 points), Jaylen Brown (26) and Jayson Tatum (24).

“We just wanted to identify the mismatches and just make plays,” Brown said. “JT did a great job of that, made some tough shots and getting to the basket. I tried to do the same. (We) just tried to take our physical advantages and create some opportunities.”

Despite the strong showing from his three stars, coach Brad Stevens said after the game he felt the defense played “awful.” Boston forced just eight turnovers in the contest and had only three steals.

“We played well enough to win but not as good as we need to in order to be a really good team,” Stevens said. “We had moments late where we strung together some stops, but we have to be much more committed to being better on that end of the floor.”

The Pistons are coming off one of their worst offensive showings of the season points-wise Wednesday night, a 112-99 loss to the visiting Toronto Raptors. Andre Drummond compiled 22 points and 18 rebounds, and Derrick Rose added 16 points off the bench, but Detroit hit just 6 of 35 attempts (17.1 percent) from behind the 3-point arc.

“They did a good job of contesting our shots, but so do other teams,” Pistons guard Luke Kennard said. “We usually knock some of those down, but we’ve had other nights like this.”

Blake Griffin had 15 points in the game as he continues to manage the workload on his surgically repaired left knee. He and Drummond (eye) had each sat out Detroit’s 133-119 loss to the visiting Washington Wizards on Monday.

“Blake is not a hundred percent with the knee soreness,” coach Dwane Casey said on Wednesday. “I don’t have a crystal ball to say if he’s going to be back 100 percent. That’s what we’re shooting for by resting him and giving him days off. We need him.”

The meeting Friday will be the first of three between the Pistons and Celtics this season. Boston has won five of the past six in the series.

–Field Level Media

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