Boston Celtics vs. Houston Rockets
8:30 PM CSN
Dodge Arena, Hidalgo TX
Zach kicked things off earlier today listing a number of goals he had for this team during the preseason, but I decided to take a closer look at some storylines surrounding the C’s preseason debut tonight withthe Rockets. The game comes at a perfect time for the team given both the Bruins and Red Sox are off, so the Celtics will have the spotlight in Boston all to themselves for one night before being overshadowed by playoff baseball for the rest of the postseason.
1) Kevin Garnett – His minutes will clearly be limited tonight in his first game action since coming back from surgery. We’ve had some glimpses of number five thanks to practice footage and a live broadcast of the team’s scrimmage on Saturday night. Tonight however, the speculation can stop and questions will start to be answered surrounding how far along The Big Ticket is in his recovery from knee surgery.
2) Backup Point Guard– The reports out of training camp have Marquis Daniels handling the bulk of the duties at point guard alongside Eddie House in the backcourt. Daniels hasn’t manned the point on a consistent basis since his Dallas Mavericks days a few years back so there will likely will be some rust shown as Daniels continues to get familiarized with the play of his new teammates. It will be hard to take too much out of one preseason game, but tonight should be an early indicator on how Doc plans to use his backups at the position.
3) Rajon Rondo’s jump shot – No guarantee we will see it tonight with the starters unlikely to play more than 15-20 minutes but I hope the 4th year pro will get the chance to unveil the revamped shot. Celtics fans should plan on preparing some thank you notes for Mark Price if significant improvement is shown.
4) The backup small forward spot– This is one area I will be watching most closely with the injury to Bill Walker opening up the potential minutes to a crowded group of underwhelming candidates. I speculated Brian Scalabrine could be a dark horse last week at this spot with a deep frontcourt likely limiting his opportunities at the 4 for floor time. Reports out of training camp had Scal spending time guarding Paul Pierce so be out the lookout tonight to see if the redhead spends some time on the wing playing with the 2nd unit.
5) Lester Hudson– The man has a guaranteed contract it appears and a likely place on the team, but the odds are stacked against Hudson to contribute to this team on the floor this year. With only 8 preseason games Hudson will have to impress Doc Rivers quickly in order to gain a shot at securing any meaningful minutes at the point this year. That chance starts tonight.
Finally, be sure to take a look at these other Atlantic Division previews from around the net, as we continue counting down to start of the regular season in a few short weeks.
New Jersey Nets
New York Knicks