Celtics-Pistons Preview

The Associated Press

The way Rajon Rondo has been creating for his teammates, a structured offense has been optional for the Boston Celtics.

Rondo will try to extend his streak of consecutive games with double-digit assists to 34 as the Celtics play for the fourth time in five days Sunday at the struggling Detroit Pistons.

After missing the team's loss to Brooklyn on Thursday because of a sprained right ankle, Rondo showed no ill effects Saturday, dishing out 20 assists in 32 minutes to lead Boston (6-4) to its biggest win of the season - 107-89 over Toronto.

Rondo, who sat out most of the fourth quarter, also had 20 assists against Philadelphia on Nov. 9. At 13.4 assists per game, he's on pace to become the NBA's highest assist leader since John Stockton averaged 13.7 in 1991-92.

Rondo can move within three games of tying Stockton for the second-longest streak in NBA history for consecutive games with 10 or more assists. Magic Johnson holds the record at 46.

"We have an offense and then he creates another offense at times,'' coach Doc Rivers said.

Boston, seeking its fifth win in six games, had assists on 37 of 43 field goals. Jason Terry scored a season-high 20 points, Paul Pierce added 19 and Kevin Garnett had 15 in 17 minutes.

"Something I look forward to every game is just trying to make my teammates happy. And somehow I keep getting to 10,'' Rondo said.

With Rondo continuing to find open looks for teammates, Boston shot a season-best 56.6 percent and matched a season high with 107 points.

The Celtics rank among the top teams in the league in field goal percentage at 47.8.

Rondo and Boston should be able to continue their success against a struggling Detroit team trying to avoid an NBA-high 10th loss.

The Pistons (1-9) have allowed just 20.4 assists per game, but they're coming off their worst defensive effort of the season.

After winning at Philadelphia on Wednesday to snap a franchise-worst 0-8 start, Detroit faltered down the stretch Friday in a 110-106 loss to Orlando. The Pistons - who had limited the 76ers to 76 points - allowed 39 fourth-quarter points to the Magic, who entered the game averaging only 88.0 points.

"If we're going to lose, we have to lose on our terms," coach Lawrence Frank said. "We've learned that a shootout probably isn't going to be the best thing for us, and the one win we have, we locked in and scored off of our defense as opposed to relying on just offense."

Greg Monroe scored 23 points to lead six players in double figures, Kyle Singler added 14 in his first start and Brandon Knight added 10 and 12 assists as Detroit had season highs in shooting (53.7 percent) and points.

Detroit, 0-3 at home and trying to avoid its first four-game losing streak there since dropping five straight from Jan. 4-20, is looking for its third straight win against the Celtics after taking two of three in the series last season.

Rondo scored a career-high 35 points on 15 of 27 shooting in a 98-88 loss to Detroit on Feb. 15, but finished with only six assists.

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