The celts continue their stand at home while receiving the houston rockets. This is the first of 2 games between these two teams this season. They will meet for the second time on March 13 in Houston. The Celtics have swept the past two season series between these two teams. This is the sixth game of the Celtics’ 7 home games. They are 2-3 so far in the first 5 games.
The Rockets are playing in the second of the consecutive games. They beat the Bulls in Chicago on Monday night. This is the second game of a 3 game road trip for them. The Celtics are 94-55 overall all-time against the Rockets and are 47-21 all-time in games played in Boston. They had lost 5 games in a row before that win.
The Celtics are first in the East, 1.5 games ahead of Milwaukee after beating them on Christmas Day. They are 2 games ahead of 3rd place Cleveland. The Celtics are 13-5 at home and 5-5 in their last 10 games. They have won their last 2 matches. The Celtics are 9-2 against teams from the Western Conference.
The Rockets are 15th and last in the West. They are 1 game out of 14th place San Antonio and 3.5 games out of 13th place lakers. They are 4-13 on the road and 3-7 in their last 10 games. They are looking to win their second game in a row. They are 5-6 against teams from the Eastern Conference.
On Monday night, the Celtics only had Danilo Gallinari out as he continues to rehab a torn ACL. Robert Williams (illness) and Payton Pritchard (thigh) were added Tuesday as questionable for this game. For the Rockets, Jae’Sean Tate was sidelined with an ankle injury. Eric Gordon is also listed as out with injury maintenance as the Rockets are playing back-to-back games. I guess KJ Martin will replace him in the starting lineup.
Possible Celtics starters
noah von leh
2 way players
Danilo Gallinari (ACL) out
Robert Williams III (illness) questionable
Payton Pritchard (thigh) questionable
Head coach (interim)
Rockets likely starters
Ty Ty Washington
two way players
days of dario
Jae’Sean Tate (ankle) out
Eric Gordon (groin) out
Marcus Smart vs. Jalen Green
Jalen Green is averaging 21.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists. He is shooting 40.9% from the field and 30.7% from beyond the arc. The Rockets’ sophomore is playing very well and leads them in scoring this season. Green is coming off a 24-point, 6-rebound, 3-assist game against the Bulls. The Celtics need to defend him well to prevent him from having a great game.
Derrick White vs. Kevin Porter, Jr.
Kevin Porter, Jr is averaging 18.7 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game. He is shooting 42.3% from the field and 31.5% from beyond the arc. Derrick White has been playing well for the Celtics and I expect him to continue to do so in this game. Porter is coming off a 36-point, 7-rebound, 9-assist game against the Bulls. The Celtics need to slow him down in this game.
Al Horford vs. Alperen Sengun
Sengun is averaging 14.6 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. He is shooting 54.8% from the field, but only 17.4% from beyond the arc. Al Horford has played very well for the Celtics, shooting 50.8% from the field and 45.1% from beyond the arc. Al needs to get him out to the perimeter to limit rebounding. Sengun comes from a great game against the Bulls with 25 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 blocks. The Celtics need to prevent him from having another big game in this one.
Defending – Defense is always the key to win. Players struggle on offense in some games, but can always play defense. The Rockets average 109.4 points per game (28th). The Celtics average 118.7 points per game (1st). The Rockets rank 28th with a defensive rating of 115.0, while the Celtics rank seventh with a defensive rating of 110.7. The Celtics especially need to defend the paint, as the Rockets rank 14th with 50.8 points in the paint per game.
Rebound – To score, the Celtics need the ball and to get it, they must break the tables as a team. The Celtics average 43.6 rebounds per game (11th) while the Rockets average 46.8 rebounds per game (4th). Much of the rebounding is effort and when the Celtics put in extra effort on the boards, it usually carries over into the rest of their game. The Rockets are a very good rebounding team and lead the league with 17.4 second chance points per game. The Celtics should enter the game determined to go the extra mile and rush for every rebound to limit those second chance points for the Rockets.
do not underestimate – The Celtics come from a great victory over the milwaukee dollars and it would be easy for them to have a disappointing game against the 10-23 Rockets, but they have to go into this game with the same mindset they had going into the Bucks. They underestimated the Magic and lost to them despite their poor record. The Celtics should not make that mistake again and keep in mind that the Rockets just beat the Bulls and therefore should be taken seriously.
be aggressive – The Celtics have to be aggressive to get the ball to the basket and not settle for 3-pointers on every possession, especially if the 3-pointers don’t land. They also have to be aggressive in seeking rebounds and fumbles. And they have to be aggressive on defense. They have to play harder than the Rockets and play like the team that wants this game the most. They allowed the Magic and pacemaker play harder than them and lose to teams they should have beaten. They shouldn’t make the same mistake in this game.
at home vs. I walk back to back – The Celtics are at home for the sixth straight game. The Celtics have the crowd behind them and if they put in a good effort, win or lose, the fans will cheer them on and help motivate them. The Rockets had to travel, stay in a hotel, play in front of a hostile crowd and on an unfamiliar court. The Rockets will also play the second night of back-to-back games, and fatigue could also be a factor.
officiating – Arbitrage is always an x factor. Some refs say the game is tight and others let them play. Some favor the home team and others call it even. Sometimes the Celtics have spent more time complaining to the refs than playing good basketball. The Celtics have to play through any decision that goes against them and not let bad decisions or no decisions take their focus away from the game.