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Five takeaways from Celtics-Pistons

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff  December 31, 2011 12:37 AM

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Five things to think about while visions of Mickael Pietrus dance in our heads ...

1. Paul Pierce is underrated: Probably 50 percent of you think the exact opposite, but the point is no one puts Pierce in the category of the league's great players. Sure he's not comparable to a LeBron or Durant in his prime at this point, but does anyone even put Pierce in the Kobe-Duncan category? Pierce made a monumental difference in tonight's game for the Celtics, and 12 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists in 22 minutes are just about right. His two 3-pointers early in the 3d quarter were vintage Pierce, and were something the Celtics got from no one in the first three games.

“Paul changes the game for them," said current Pistons coach and former Celtics assistant Lawrence Frank. "Regardless, I know he’s only practice once this whole year, but you just know what he’s capable of doing."

2. Jermaine O'Neal is who he is: It's as silly to coronate O'Neal for his performance tonight as it is to vilify him for his low-scoring outputs in the last two games. O'Neal is not and will not be the issue. If he scores 19 points, fine. The Celtics need a couple of blocked shots and a presence at the rim. Everything else is gravy.

Tommy Heinsohn said during tonight's broadcast that O'Neal has "the Perkins curse". If only O'Neal had Kendrick's fan club.

3. KG's minutes are a concern Maybe the Celtics are so good that Kevin Garnett doesn't even need to be on the floor for them to dominate the hapless Pistons. Or maybe Garnett can't give the Celtics more than 25 minutes despite a day off and the game taking place in TD Garden. Garnett did look much better on defense tonight, covering more ground than he did in New Orleans and Miami.

4. Brandon Bass likes to shoot: Said Doc Rivers, “I don’t think Brandon has a problem scoring. I mean, really, when he gets it he’s probably going to shoot it. And a good thing, though. He’s an aggressive player and that’s what we want him to be. So he’s going to have good nights and he’s going to have some bad nights probably, too."

Bass is 2d on the Celtics in shot attempts and has one assist in 106 minutes.

5. The landscape doesn't end in Detroit: Watching the finish of Bulls-Clippers. Detroit is neither of these teams. The Celtics showed gumption against the Heat and Knicks, but they didn't win those games. How will the Celtics respond against their next good opponent? (the Wizards aren't it). How will they respond on the road?

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