Game 11: Houston Rockets Vs. Boston Celtics Preview

The Houston Rockets had a day of rest to recover from what was one of the worst game I’ve seen in recent memory.

I’m not going to say that I couldn’t believe what I was seeing because with the way the team has been playing as of late, the events that transpired Saturday night was quite plausible.

I continue to wonder if there’s any light toward the end of the dark tunnel that this team seems to be crawling through.

There’s gotta be an end game to this, whether some tweaks are made for the greater good or if the team finally gets it and starts playing like the basketball team that we’ve known to love.

It’s truly been a love/hate relationship with this team that I’ve had for the past 10 games, loving the fact that this team has the potential to win the championship but hate the fact that they’re underachieving to a point to where they could blow those chances away.

But nonetheless, the Rockets have a game to play tonight and that’s against the 5-4 Boston Celtics.

They’re a lot better than their record indicates and gone 4-1 in the past five games including a 100-85 thriller over the Oklahoma City Thunder last night.

During that 4-1 stretch, they’ve held opponents to 92.2 PPG and 42.7 percent shooting from the field.

This is a dangerous team that’s right smack dab in the middle of their rebuilding project and Brad Stevens has this young bunch of guys believing in themselves.

So who’s leading the charge for the Celtics?

Isaiah Thomas leads the team in scoring (20.8 PPG) and assists (6.3 APG).  Jared Sullinger gets more boards than anybody else (9.2 RPG).  Jae Crowder is on top in steals (3.10 SPG) and Amir Johnson is their top shot-blocker (1.20 BPG).

Let’s talk about what the Celtics do well.

They are the defensive juggernauts.  The Celtics are 4th in the league as far as defensive efficiency, holding opponents to a paltry 94.4 points per 100 possessions.

They are deft at moving the ball around.  The Celtics are 6rh in the league in assist ratio with 16.7 percent of their possessions ending with an assist.

Injuries:

Patrick Beverley was last seen in a walking boot and crutches two days ago and has been ruled OUT indefinitely according to KRIV FOX 26’s Mark Berman.

Montrezl Harrell rolled his ankle when he stepped on Dwight Powell‘s foot in the 2nd half against the Dallas Mavericks Saturday and has now been ruled day-to-day as a result.  At the time of this writing, his status for tonight was uncertain but it’s likely he will miss some time even if it’s insignificant.

Avery Bradley had been dealing with a calf strain since last week but returned to lineup last night against the Thunder.  He had 14 points, four assists while shooting 6-for-12 from the field in 26 minutes of action.  He was partly responsible for Russell Westbrook‘s horrid 5-for-20 FG, 2-for-10 three-point FG performance, making him work hard for every shot that he attempted.  He will not start initially but will be worked in the lineup over time to prevent a re-occurrence.

Three Things to Watch:

  1.  James Harden vs. Marcus Smart
  2. Ty Lawson vs. Thomas
  3. Dwight Howard/Clint Capela vs. Sullinger
  4. (Bonus) Will we any defense played tonight?

Prediction:

103-95 in a Rockets’ loss.

The Rockets take on the Celtics at Toyota Center.

Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. CST.

The game will be televised on ROOT Sports Southwest and broadcast on SportsTalk 790 AM (KBME) & La Ranchera 850 AM (KEYH) in Spanish.

Go Rockets.