A Thursday Night Viewer's Guide

Basketbawful has pulled out his Ouiji board, Magic 8-Ball and Tarot cards in order to give you a little prognostication for tonight's game.

Detroit verus Boston: Game 2

Ray Allen. His jump shot has left him. Literally. It now belongs to Jason Kapono. It's so the hair. But Ray-Ray isn't worried. Or...something. "I've scored a lot in my career. But it's good to be in a position, where I'm not going to let it (affect the rest of my game)." Okay. So I guess we can expect 15 rebounds and 10 assists out of Allen tonight.

Yay Team! Part I. Oh, and Kevin Garnett isn't worried either. "Ray's a part of the Boston Celtics, and the Boston Celtics are winning. I'm sure it's not his first shooting slump, and it's definitely not his last. So I don't have any sympathy for Ray Allen." Was that actually a vote of confidence or something else? Because I couldn't really tell.

Yay team! Part II: And Doc Rivers? So not worried. "I'm not worried about it, I'm really not," Doc said while chewing on his fingernails, refusing to make eye contact, and rubbing the hell out of his lucky chicken's foot. "We're winning games, and Ray's making plays."

Yay other team! Flip Saunders is worried, even if everybody else thinks he shouldn't be. "Ray is a good shooter and he's going to shoot the ball, no matter what. You can never think he's going to keep missing. If you start leaving him open, he can get hot."

Chauncey Billups. While it hasn't gotten as much attention as Allen's prodigal jumper, Mr. Big Shot's hammy hasn't fully healed. And it may not until sometime in, oh, August. But can he can he do his thing anyway? "Not everything, but I am good enough to play...as far as being the best I can be, I don't know if I can get to that."

Rasheed versus KG: In Game 1, this matchup was a showdown in the same way that the Battle of Hoth was a showdown between the Empire and the Rebellion. Hm. I might have crossed the Nerd Rubicon with that reference. Anyway, 'Sheed better get his hose pulled on straight and show the world that real men wear tights, or the Pistons won't stand a chance.

The Paint. Whoever rules the paint...rules the Earth. Okay, that might be overstating things, but the Celtics did outscore the Pistons 44-22 in that square boxy thing. Part of that was aggression by KG and Paul Pierce, and part of it was because Detroit wasn't trapping the pick-and-roll, which allowed the Leprechauns to drive it to the hoop almost at will. But hey, that's nothing a few well-placed land mines won't stop.

Rhythm. The Pistons didn't have it in Game 1. Too much rest, I guess. As a result, the shot 42 percent and barely had more assists (15) than turnovers (13). Oh, and their defense was a little off, too; Boston shot 52 percent from the field despite being stone-cold (2-for-9) from distance. Maybe the Motor City Madmen will get it together after that practice game.