Welcome to the Garden …

TD BANKNORTH GARDEN — Welcome to the Garden, where the Boston Celtics (10-2) will take on the Detroit Pistons (8-3) at 8 p.m.

This game doesn’t need any help from Quentin Richardson to find compelling storylines. It’s nationally televised. It’s a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals. And it’s the second time the Celtics are facing the Pistons since Allen Iverson was traded to Detroit.

The Celtics handed Detroit an 88-76 loss in Iverson’s home debut at Auburn Hills on Nov. 9, but the Pistons have won 4 of their last 5 games with A.I. in the lineup. Their most recent victory was their most impressive, a 96-89 win over the Cavaliers last night to end Cleveland’s eight-game winning streak.


Iverson is averaging 20.6 points in seven games with Detroit, and he’s averaging 32.4 points in his last five trips to Boston.

Ray Allen, the first Celtic out for warm-ups, is currently going through his usual 250-shot pregame routine. Drafted the same year as Iverson (1996), Allen knows a little bit about his Big East counterpart. Not sure how much Allen will get to guard A.I., however, with Iverson starting at the point.

Oh yeah, and Kevin Garnett returns from his controversial one-game suspension tonight. You think KG might be fired up for this one?

We’re try to blow out the coverage a little bit tonight with the Pistons in town. The locker rooms open in a bit, so stay tuned.

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