Final: Celtics 109, Pistons 86. The Celtics have won consecutive games for the first time this season, finishing off an impressive 23-point win over the Pistons for their second straight win. They led from wire to wire.
Kevin Garnett leads the way for the Celtics with 22 points, six rebounds, two assists and two blocks. Paul Pierce adds 21 point and Ray Allen 16; Rajon Rondo comes up with a whopping 17 assists.
Five Pistons finish in double figures in the losing effort, led by Charlie Villanueva's 17 off the bench.
The C's are now 3-1 and head home to take on the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night.
Fourth quarter, 2:52, Celtics 105-82: Doc Rivers empties his bench, sending Von Wafer back into the game and giving Luke Harangody his first burn of the game. Their very first play? Wafer to Harangody for a transition layup.
It's an 11-0 run for the Celtics, who have officially put this game out of reach. Time to rest the starters for the Bucks game less than 24 hours away.
Fourth quarter, 4:29, Celtics 96-82: Rajon Rondo now has 66 assists on the season, breaking John Stockton's 21-year-old record for a season-opening four-game stretch.
Rondo finds KG for a long two at the top of the key. KG now has 20 points; Paul Pierce has 21 and Ray Allen has 16. Big night for the Big Three.
Fourth quarter, 5:45, Celtics 94-82: The Pistons are making this a game yet. Austin Daye is leading the charge with seven points in the fourth quarter, and Detroit is suddenly within 12.
Time for Doc to let the starters go full throttle. They can finish this thing off if they let Rondo and the Big Three do their thing.
Fourth quarter, 7:43, Celtics 92-78: Just to make sure the Pistons don't make a late run at this thing, Doc Rivers has sent Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Rajon all back into the game.
Rondo's got 15 assists in this contest, for 65 on the season. He needs one more to set the new record for assists in the first four games of the season — John Stockton had 65 in his first four games in 1989.
Fourth quarter, 9:45, Celtics 90-71: Doc Rivers appears content to leave his second unit out there and let them play. Nate Robinson's chucking jumpers, Glen Davis is bringing energy, and Semih Erden is doing his thing as a beast down low. This lineup is fun to watch.
The C's have a comfortable lead, but the starters are all on the edges of their seats, ready to jump back in should Doc need them. (They needn't hold their breath.)
End of third quarter, Celtics 88-68: When the Celtics are knocking down jumpers like this, it just isn't fair. Ray Allen and Paul Pierce each get a wide-open 3, and the C's pile it on.
Stick a fork in the Pistons. They're done.
Third quarter, 2:43, Celtics 78-62: Just when the Pistons threaten to make a comeback, Rajon Rondo breaks their hearts by getting a steal, taking it coast to coast, and finding Kevin Garnett under the basket to finish.
Rondo has his 14th assist, and the C's lead is back to 16.
Which figure ends up higher tonight? The Celtics' margin of victory, or Rondo's assist total?
Third quarter, 5:04, Celtics 76-56: The Celtics' bigs are having their way with the Pistons' defensive front line. Jermaine O'Neal and Kevin Garnett each knock down a short jumper here to push the Boston lead back to 20. They're making it look easy.
Rajon Rondo now has 13 assists. He's making a run at 20 again tonight.
Third quarter, 7:11, Celtics 70-50: The C's have rattled off an 11-2 run. If this game isn't over yet, it's at least close.
Paul Pierce just found a mismatch with Ben Gordon and threw down a monster dunk. The Pistons look completely outclassed on the defensive end right now.
How soon with the C's surpass the century mark? Place your bets.
Third quarter, 9:28, Celtics 62-48: Just when the Pistons start to make their push back into this game, Paul Pierce comes up with a huge 3 to yank the lead back to 14. The Pistons are starting to look deflated.
Rip Hamilton is out tonight, and Tracy McGrady has left as well with a sore knee. The Pistons already lack the talent and the depth to compete in this matchup, but things are only getting worse for them.
Halftime, Celtics 57-44: The Celtics opened this game on a 4-0 run, and they've yet to look back. They've got a comfortable 13-point lead at halftime.
Kevin Garnett leads the way for the C's with 12 points, and Paul Pierce has nine. Rajon Rondo's put up nine assists to go with his nine points.
Rodney Stuckey's got 11 points for the Pistons at the break.
Second quarter, 3:25, Celtics 47-40: Kevin Garnett with the slam. He's now got 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting, and Rajon Rondo's got eight assists.
The Celtics' second unit has looked choppy in this first half, but the starters are now back on the floor and they've made enough plays to keep the C's comfortably ahead.
Second quarter, 6:16, Celtics 43-34: Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen check back in for the Celtics. Quickly, Rondo finds Allen for an open jumper, and Allen drains it.
Six assists now for Rondo tonight. He might not get 24 again, but he's going to make a run at it.
Second quarter, 7:19, Celtics 41-30: Two points, two rebounds and two blocks now for Semih Erden in his NBA debut. With Jermaine O'Neal in foul trouble and the smaller Tayshaun Prince guarding Erden, it's the perfect storm for the young Turk to have a big game.
He's still learning the fundamentals of the American game, but you have to love his raw ability.
Second quarter, 9:55, Celtics 39-28: Two pieces of good news for the Celtics: Semih Erden has scored his first career NBA bucket, and the C's have their biggest lead of the game at 11 points.
Rajon Rondo caught a quick breather for the first two minutes of the quarter. But with Nate Robinson in early foul trouble (he's got two), it's safe to say we can expect Rondo back soon.
Second quarter, 10:23, Celtics 37-28: The Pistons' second unit isn't stopping Glen Davis. Too much energy, too much tenacity, too much scoring ability. Big Baby's got four points, two rebounds and an assist early.
Meanwhile Tracy McGrady is matched up with his old Rockets teammate, Von Wafer. So far the only thing Wafer's done is miss a wide-open corner 3. He's got to step his game up.
End of first quarter, Celtics 31-26: A solid ending to the first quarter for the Celtics, as Rajon Rondo finishes with six points and five assists.
Semih Erden also makes the first regular-season appearance of his NBA career, and he blocks two shots in his first two minutes. Not a bad start.
The Pistons need an 8-3 run at the end of the quarter to keep things respectable. They're now back within striking distance, down just five at the break.
First quarter, 2:44, Celtics 24-18: If Jermaine O'Neal wants to win that "who can take the most charges?" contest, he'd better step his game up. Glen Davis just took two more.
Big Baby has been a tremendous presence defensively for the Celtics. This is the right matchup for him — the Pistons aren't too big and they aren't too quick. Baby can hold his own in the low post.
First quarter, 4:44, Celtics 22-15: Kevin Garnett has 10 points early. The Pistons are digging into their bench, and they still haven't found an answer.
Jermaine O'Neal has two fouls, so he's been yanked for Glen Davis. That can't be a good sign — J.O. lasted only 12 minutes before fouling out last time out.
The Pistons' bench is loaded with scorers. Tracy McGrady, Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon are all on the floor alongside Rodney Stuckey and Ben Wallace.
First quarter, 6:14, Celtics 18-9: The Celtics are dominating the war down low. It's all about points in the paint — Kevin Garnett has eight, Jermaine O'Neal has four, and the C's have sizable lead early.
The Celtics are too big, too imposing, too physical for these Pistons.
First quarter, 8:53, Celtics 8-3: Rajon Rondo has his first assist, and it's a beauty. Perfect entry pass to Kevin Garnett under the basket, and KG finishes at the rim.
Austin Daye is having a hell of a time trying to slow down Garnett. The Pistons' 22-year-old forward is really struggling.
First quarter, 10:26, Celtics 4-0: The Pistons are 0-for-3 from the field to start the game, and the C's are rolling. Paul Pierce has an early bucket, and Kevin Garnett is 2-for-2 from the line.
The game plan against the Pistons seems pretty simple: Make them jump shooters. Doesn't look like they can hit contested shots over the C's physical defenders.
7:30 p.m.: As expected, it'll be Jermaine O'Neal taking the floor for the C's with the rest of the usual starting five.
This will be a big game for J.O. He needs to stay out of foul trouble, play hard and be effective at both ends of the floor.
6:45 p.m.: It looks like Shaquille O'Neal should only miss one game with his leg injury, and the Diesel will be back on the floor Wednesday night.
Coach Doc Rivers told the media prior to game time that he anticipates Shaq playing on Wednesday night back in Boston, when the C's take on the Milwaukee Bucks. Until then, though, it'll be the other O'Neal in his place. Expect Jermaine to start here in Detroit.
6 p.m.: The C's are still doing damage control in the wake of Delontegate.
Kevin Garnett said today that "everybody's been in altercations," shrugging off the beef between Delonte West and Von Wafer as nothing new. Shaquille O'Neal has made similar statements.
The biggest statement of all would be for the Celtics to take the floor in Detroit and play like this is behind them. They've got a chance for a big statement win four days after the infamous fight.
4 p.m.: Well, this sure is weird. For the second time in as many weeks, the Orlando Magic have had a game cancelled due to unsafe conditions at an away arena.
On Oct. 22, the Magic's preseason finale against the Heat was nixed because of slippery conditions on the floor in Tampa; on Tuesday, the Magic won't be playing the Knicks because of asbestos discovered at Madison Square Garden.
Strange couple of weeks for the Magic. You don't see games postponed too often in the NBA, but somehow lightning has struck them twice.
3 p.m.: An interesting tidbit of afternoon reading to tide you over until C's-Pistons: Glen Davis is leading the charge-taking race for Boston this season.
Jermaine O'Neal has said that he takes pride in the smaller, more intangible things he can do to help this Celtics team win, and taking offensive fouls is definitely one of them. He's had a slow start due to his various injuries, but expect him to give Big Baby a run for his money once healthy.
This game should be a big opportunity for J.O. to break out of his funk, since he's starting in place of the banged-up Shaquille O'Neal. Let's see if he makes the most of it.
8 a.m.: Three seasons ago, we saw these two teams do battle in May in the Eastern Conference finals.
The Celtics and the Detroit Pistons, two deep, veteran-laden squads, went at it in the spring of 2008 for a shot at Finals glory. The Celtics won out, the Pistons went down, and Detroit has been on the decline ever since.
This year's Pistons are 0-3 and they host the Celtics on Tuesday night. Tayshaun Prince and Richard Hamilton are still alive and kicking in the Motor City, but their motors are dying fast. The Pistons will be looking for their first win, but it won't be easy getting it against the visiting Celtics.
The one beacon of hope for the Pistons' future is Rodney Stuckey. Watch for Stuckey to clash with the other dynamic young point guard on the floor, Celtics counterpart Rajon Rondo. This'll be a fun matchup.