The Detroit Pistons haven’t built the NBA’s best record by overlooking opponents.
They’ll try to win their fourth straight when they take on the Boston Celtics at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
Detroit is taking the game with Boston seriously despite the Celtics’ subpar record. The Pistons are playing the second game of five straight against losing teams and are intent on taking advantage.
“That team’s been playing up and down, but they’ve got a lot of great individual talent and they’re going to challenge us,” said Detroit point guard Chauncey Billups about his former team. “We always have great games with them.”
The Pistons are 2-0 against the Celtics this season, including an 82-81 road win on Nov. 4 on Richard Hamilton’s jumper at the buzzer. Detroit has won four straight home meetings with Boston and eight of the last nine overall.
Hamilton is averaging 25.5 points against Boston this season.
Detroit began its stretch against sub-.500 teams Saturday by routing the Charlotte Bobcats 114-91. After hosting Boston, the Pistons have road games at Atlanta and New York before returning home to face Houston.
Hamilton led seven Pistons in double figures with 19 points and reserve Maurice Evans added a season-high 18. Detroit recorded its highest point total since a 120-114 double-overtime loss Nov. 25 to the Washington Wizards.
“We moved the ball well, had 35 assists, 12 turnovers and rebounded the ball well,” Detroit coach Flip Saunders said of the win over the Bobcats. “We had a good overall performance. We had seven guys in double figures, so it was a good performance.”
Boston has not played since a 125-124 triple-overtime loss Friday to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Celtics blew a 16-point lead in regulation and suffered their third close loss in the last four games.
“It’s tough, but it’s fun,” Celtics forward Paul Pierce said. “It’s draining, but I’m glad I had a chance to be a part of it.”
Boston’s last three losses have been by a total of four points. The Celtics are 5-10 in games decided by four points or less.
“We just need to be a smarter team,” said coach Doc Rivers after Friday’s game. “It’s a tough loss.”