The Celtics have once again found some momentum, picking up a big road win against the Detroit Pistons, a very productive and physical rebounding team. Although the Celtics definitely showed some signs of improvement in their rebounding game, there were many other factors that propelled them to their 38th victory of the season. In this article, we will recap their victory and go over some of the key themes that came up.
Detroit Pistons Recap
1. Al Horford better find his offensive groove, and soon.
I have seen Al Horford’s progression as the season has gone on, and I can confidently say he is not the second scoring option this Celtics team should be looking for. In my opinion, Horford’s could naturally play the third scoring option, perhaps partaking in 2nd scoring option on certain nights.But by forcing the ball into Horford’s hands in the post, the Celtics are essentially imploring someone else, aside from Isaiah Thomas, to score and keep them afloat until the fourth quarter.
And while Horford certainly played that role with his stint with the Atlanta Hawks, and was payed like this by the Boston Celtics with a 28 million annual salary, Horford has simply not been playing well scoring-wise. According to ESPN stats, Big Al has been shooting an embarrassing 37 percent from the field in his last five games, 2 of them which have been losses to the Chicago Bulls and the new-look Toronto Raptors.
This coming game against the Hawks should be a wake-up call for Horford. The Celtics simply cannot accept this sort of shooting from what was supposed to be a big offensive upgrade over the likes of Jared Sullinger, so Horford better find his offensive groove soon before the playoffs roll around. Horford is trying to do too much, and if the Celtics keep on forcing it they may not like the results.
2. Jaylen Brown will be a superstar one day, mark my words
Let’s take a moment to acknowledge one of the up and coming stars in the NBA, rookie Jaylen Brown. With his transition game and improving jumpshot, Brown has been everything the Celtics envisioned when they drafted him 3rd overall in last year’s draft. And although his current starting position is based mostly on the injury of Avery Bradley, this kid has consistently showed us he can ball, and he will only get better.
Scoring 13 points in two consecutive games, Brown has been a big sparkplug offensive-wise for the Celtics, and he has also shown he can knock down clutch buckets in tight game situations. With his get-better mindset, I think this kid could really go places in the very near future. I also think Brown has one of the most aggressive mindsets when it comes to attacking the rim since Paul Pierce.
Should Brown start once again for the injured Avery Bradley tonight against the Hawks, look for his overall impact on both sides of the floor, and judge for yourself how good this kid can get while keeping in mind he’s only 20 years of age. Is he one or two seasons away from becoming an All-Star?
3. Isaiah Thomas continues his MVP caliber season
It seems like a daily theme in the Celtics world, the praise of Isaiah Thomas’ play.
Scoring a very quiet 33 points against a very physical Detroit squad, “the little guy” has simply been fantastic on the offensive end. And while his defense still could use some work, he is of course limited in this regard due to his small frame. But Isaiah has shown that he is a more than capable defender for his size, and it all comes down to how his offensive production counters his defense handicaps.
The second leading scorer in the NBA will look to continue his 20 point streak against a Hawks team that has struggled containing Thomas, allowing him to score 28 points in their last match-up.
Summary and Notes:
The Celtics have now prioritized rebounding, and it showed against the Pistons. Multiple Celtics got close to the 10 rebounding mark, and this was one of the keys to winning due to the fact that the Pistons biggest strength could be the rebounding game. For this upcoming game against the Hawks, I’m interested to see if Avery Bradley will come back from injury, and how he would affect the team’s current chemistry. Another thing to keep an eye out for could be how this would affect Jaylen Brown’s minutes, as he has shown he is more than capable of holding down the starting spot in the absence of Bradley.