Detroit (21-26) at Boston (29-18)
When: Monday, January 30th 2017
Where: TD Garden, Boston, MA
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: TNT
The Boston Celtics look to make it four straight victories when the host the Detroit Pistons on Monday night at TD Garden in Boston. The Celtics have moved into first place in the Atlantic Division ahead of reeling Toronto by following up a three-game skid with three straight wins including an overtime win at Milwaukee on Saturday. All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas is now second in team history with 31 straight games of 20 or more points after pouring in 37 points on the second night of a back-to-back in Milwaukee in Saturday. Only Hall of Famer John Havlicek at 40 owns a longer streak. Thomas is the leading scorer in the Eastern Conference at 29.1 points and that average is up to 32.3 points in January. Thomas has been terrific lately in the second game of back-to-backs and scored 38 points in a win over Houston on Wednesday after playing Washington the previous night. Center Al Horford (groin) sat out the last two games and is listed as questionable for Monday’s contest.
The Pistons are going in the opposite direction with two straight setbacks to lowly Sacramento and Miami. The Pistons looked worn-out in the fourth quarter on Saturday, when they were outscored 26-12 and ended up with a 116-103 loss at Miami despite having the previous four days off. “Down the stretch, we were terrible,” Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy told reporters. “We didn’t make plays. We’ve got to find better stuff down the stretch.” Detroit was one of the top defensive teams in the first two months of the season but have allowed over 100 points in 10 of their last 11 games including three of them over 120 points. The Pistons allowed the Heat to shoot 53.2% from the floor, including 14-of-28 from 3-point range, in Saturday’s defeat. Point guard Reggie Jackson has gone over his 17.2 scoring average in three straight games including 24 at Miami on 10-of-17 shooting and he’s hit five of his last seven three-point attempts over two games and has a career-best 39.2% 3-point shooting percentage.
When the Celtics are playing well, they’re hard to beat. Detroit is really struggling to slow offenses down, so I’m taking the Celtics and laying the points in this one.
Pick: Celtics -5.5