Houston Rockets at Celtics: 2017-18 Game 33: Five things to watch

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 20: Kyrie Irving
BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 20: Kyrie Irving /

The 26-7 Houston Rockets will take on the 28-10 Boston Celtics in a match up that will keep us all on the edge of seats for tonight.

The Houston Rockets will be taking on the Celtics, a team that certainly is playing above expectations, despite not having their star-studded free agent in Gordon Hayward.  Because of how well they’re coached by Brad Stevens, this bunch hasn’t missed a beat.   I feel that they’re going to give the Rox all they could handle with their notable defensive prowess.

We’ll have to see but this game is certainly one of those during the season that’s absolutely worth watching.

1.) So who’s leading the charge for the Celtics?

Kyrie Irving is the top scorer (24.7 PPG) while Al Horford leads in rebounds (7.7 RPG), assists (5.4 APG) and blocks (1.0 BPG).  Marcus Smart is in charge of the steals (1.2 SPG).

2.) Let’s talk about what the Celtics do well.

They’re still stout defenders.  The Celtics are 2nd in defensive efficiency, allowing a minute 101 points per 100 possessions as a team.

They’re great at moving the ball around.  The Celtics are tied for 9th in assist ratio — alongside Minnesota Timberwolves — with 17.3 percent of their possessions ending with an assist.

They’re immensely solid of taking care of the basketball.  The Celtics are tied for 9th in turnover ratio — alongside the Detroit Pistons — with 13.1 percent of their possessions ending with an assist.

They crash the boards well on defense.  The Celtics are holding at 8th in defensive rebound rate (78.5).

3.) Injuries:

Chris Paul is suffering a sore left leg, the same leg where he had the knee soreness earlier this season.  As with the previous injury, the team will take their time bringing him back in the fold.  He is still considered day-to-day.  He did practice this past Sunday but was still experiencing soreness.  He has made the trip with the Rockets and they’re hoping he’s available either tonight or tomorrow against the Washington Wizards.

More from House of Houston

Clint Capela bruised his left heel against the San Antonio Spurs Dec.15th and returned to the lineup against Oklahoma City Christmas Day. However, he took a elbow from Steven Adams back in third quarter of that game.  He now has right orbital bone fracture and is hopefully slated to miss the next two games.

Luc Mbah a Moute dislocated his shoulder Dec. 13th on a hard spill after a breakaway dunk a contest against the Charlotte Hornets, having to exit the game early and not return.  The MRI he had didn’t reveal any significant damage is still currently on track to return within the next couple of weeks.  Hopefully sooner than later as we need his presence.

Marcus Morris (knee), Semi Ojeleye (back) and Jaylen Brown (knee) have all missed time nursing their various injuries.  All three weren’t available in last night’s game against the Charlotte Hornets, which ended up to be a 102-91 win.  Since this is back-to-back for C’s, I’d also project Morris Ojeleye and Brown will be out for tonight as well.

Source(s): Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, Brian Robb of BostonSportsJournal.com, Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe and Adam Kaufman of WBZ Boston

4.) Matchups to Watch:

  1. Eric Gordon vs. Kyrie Irving
  2. James Harden vs. Jaylen Brown/Marcus Smart
  3. Trevor Ariza vs. Jayson Tatum
  4. Ryan Anderson/Tarik Black vs. Al Horford

Next: THREE Reasons why there's hate for James Harden

5.) Prediction:

106-101 in a Houston Rockets’ win!

The Rockets are on the road to take on the Celtics at TD Garden.

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

The game will be televised on AT&T Sportsnet Southwest/TNT and broadcast on SportsTalk 790 AM, Sirius/XM/SiriusXM Internet 890 and La Ranchera 101.7 FM (KNTE) & 850 AM (KEYH) in Spanish.

Go Rockets.