"We're ready for the challenge, though it may not look like it from what our record states," Rasheed Wallace said.
The Celtics' dominance over the Pistons has carried over from last season's conference finals. Boston easily disposed of them in two November games by playing physical defense and controlling the boards. Detroit shot 38.5 percent and were out-rebounded by an average of six in the first two meetings.
Cleveland's defense normally gives the Pistons fits, too, though Detroit pulled away to a 96-89 victory over the Cavs in November behind Wallace's 21 points and 15 rebounds.
"We are just going to have to play some really good basketball this week," head coach Michael Curry said.
The Pistons' veterans are loathe to speak of regular-season contests as statement games but they certainly have something to prove this weekend. They can send a message to both teams that they're still a viable contender.
PISTONS 98, TIMBERWOLVES 89: Center Rasheed Wallace had 25 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks as the Pistons snapped a two-game losing streak Wednesday. Minnesota's Al Jefferson had 24 points but was held to 1-for-6 shooting in the fourth quarter with Wallace guarding him. The win was the Pistons' fourth straight in Minnesota, and they avenged a 26-point home loss to the Timberwolves in November.