Boston at Houston
8:00 P.M. ET
Boston: 96.3 points/100 possessions (26th)
Houston: 105.0 points/100 possessions (7th)
Boston: 100.8 points allowed/100 possessions (12th)
Houston: 101.3 points allowed/100 possessions (13th)
Probable Rockets Starters:
Patrick Beverley (PG), James Harden (SG), Chandler Parsons (SF), Terrence Jones (PF) & Dwight Howard (C)
View From The Opposing Bench: Red94
Thumbnail: Finally, these Celtics get a little time to rest! It is the first time since the beginning of the season that the green are heading into a game after two days off. However, the positives end there as Boston starts a stretch of five nights in four different cities. The Celtics take on the Rockets, Spurs, Pacers and Hawks, which own a combined 31-10 record. They begin in Houston for their second consecutive game involving reverse records. Coincidentally, the 4-6 Celtics and 6-4 Timberwolves faced off on Saturday and now the 7-4 Rockets host the 4-7 C’s. In addition, coming into Tuesday’s game, the green have a 2-4 road record this season while Houston is 4-2 at home.
Each of the Celtics’ three back-to-backs this season has been some sort of a sweep, and this one may continue that trend. Boston is coming off a season-low 28 points in the paint in Minnesota, and it does not get any easier as the Rockets will most likely get Omer Asik back. Kevin McHale benched his Turkish center for the last two games after Asik demanded a trade last week. Second-year power forward Terrence Jones, who played in just 19 games last year, has provided some stellar play in place of Asik. The Kentucky product has started the last three contests and has become a great fantasy basketball pickup: as a starter, he has averaged 10 points, 10.3 rebounds, three offensive rebounds, two blocks and a 3-pointer made per game.
It will be interesting to see how the minutes are split for the Rockets frontcourt, but one thing is for sure: Dwight Howard will start. Teams have really attacked the former Orlando center this season, as he is giving up a league-high 11.6 field goal attempts at the rim per game. On those shots against Howard, opponents are shooting worse than 48 percent, which means that big man has been solid considering that the league average is around 10 percent higher. The Celtics are among the leaders in the NBA in offensive shots at the rim, so we should see more than 28 points in the paint on Tuesday. Easy buckets and free throws are important for a Celtics team that has topped 50 percent from the field only twice this season.
Prediction: The Celtics are 2-0 against the spread and 1-1 overall when they are double-digit underdogs. Boston fights hard and maybe employs a little Hack-a-Howard (although he did go 17-of-24 last game from the line), but it is another four-game losing streak.
Rockets 107, Celtics 99
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