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Rockets (38-20) at Celtics (41-17) Game #59 2/29.20
« on: February 28, 2020, 10:39:18 PM »

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Houston Rockets (38-20) at Boston Celtics (41-17)
Saturday, February 29, 2020
8:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #59, Home Game #29
TV:   ABC
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub, 790 AM KBME
TD Garden



Probable Starting Matchups
Point Guard
vs
Marcus Smart vs Russell Westbrook

Shooting Guard

vs
Jaylen Brown vs James Harden

Small Forward
vs  
Gordon Hayward vs Robert Covington

Power Forward
  vs 
Jayson Tatum vs Danuel House, Jr

Center
vs
Daniel Theis vs PJ Tucker

Reserves
Romeo Langford
Javonte Green
Semi Ojeleye
Brad Wanamaker
Grant Williams
Vincent Poirier
Carsen Edwards
Enes Kanter
Robert Williams III

Injuries/NWT
Kemba Walker (knee) out
Robert Williams III  probable

Two Way Players

Tremont Waters
Tacko Fall

Head Coach
Brad Stevens



Reserves
Bruno Caboclo
Tyson Chandler
DeMarre Carroll
Ben McLemore
Austin Rivers
Thabo Sefolosha
Jeff Green 

Injuries
Eric Gordon (knee) day to day
Chris Clemons (g-league)  out
Isaiah Hartenstein (g-league)  out

2 Way Players
Michael Frazier
William Howard

Head Coach
Mike D'Antoni

Game Notes
The Celtics return from their Western road trip to face yet another Western Conference team at home.  The Houston Rockets make their only trip to Boston to face the Celtics for the 2nd and final time this regular season.  The Celtics faced the Rockets the first time in Houston right after they traded Capela and the Rockets beat them 116-105. 

This is the first game of a 2 game road trip for Houston.  They will go on to New York before returning home to face the Clippers. The Celtics are home for a game vs Brooklyn on Tuesday before going back on the road on Wednesday to play the Cavs.   The Rockets have won their last 4 games against the Celtics and they have swept 3 of the last 6 season series vs the Celtics. 

The Celtics remain 3rd in the East, 4.5 games ahead of the Heat.  Old friend Terry Rozier and the Hornets beat the Raptors on Friday to move the Celtics to just half a game out of 2nd place.  The Celtics are opening up a gap over the Heat and with a win here, they can move into 2nd place.   They are 23-5 at home and 8-2 in their last 10 games.  They have won their last 2 games and 3 of their last 4 on their Western road trip.  They are 16-8 vs Western Conference teams. 

The Rockets are in 4th place in the West, 1 game behind the Los Angeles Clippers and 2 games ahead of the Thunder.  The standings are still crowded in the middle of the Western Conference and the Rockets need to keep winning to keep pace. They are 17-12 on the road and 8-2 in their last 10 games.  They have won their last 5 games since the trade deadline.  They are 14-4 vs Eastern Conference teams. 

The Celtics got good news on Friday as Robert Williams had been cleared to play and is expected to finally return for them in this game.  He will be on a minutes restriction at first but it will be good to see him back on the court.  Kemba Walker is out for this game and will miss his 5th straight game, but it's possible he may return for Tuesday's game against the Nets. 

For the Rockets, Eric Gordon is questionable and will be a game time decision.  He didn't suit up for Wednesday's game against the Grizzlies after leaving Monday's game vs the Knicks with knee soreness.  Chris Clemons and Isaiah Hartenstein are both on assignment with the Rockets' G-League team. 

Key Matchups
vs
Jaylen Brown vs James Harden
Harden is a very tough matchup as evidenced by the fact that he is leading the league with 35.2 points per game along with 6.4 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 1.7 steals per game.  He is shooting 44.3% from the field and 36.3% from beyond the arc.  The Celtics can only hope to slow him down and keep the rest of the team from having big games. 

vs
Marcus Smart vs Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook is averaging 27.3 points, 7.9 rebounds, 7.2 assists and 1.7 steals per game.  He is shooting 47% from the field and 24.9% from beyond the arc.  The Celtics need to keep him out of the paint and make him beat them from outside, where he has struggled somewhat this season. 

Honorable Mention
Gordon Hayward vs Robert Covington
Covington was traded to the Rockets in the Capela trade.  He has played very well for the Rockets so far.  He is averaging 12.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks per game.  He is shooting 42.9% from the field and 34.3% from beyond the arc.  He has been able to give them some rim protection in spite of playing without a traditional center.   

Keys to the Game
Defense -  Defense is always a key to every game, but especially this one.   The Rockets are 2nd in the league in scoring at 118.9 points per game.  The Celtics are 8th, averaging 113.4 points per game.  The Rockets are 15th with a defensive rating of 109.6 while the Celtics are 3rd with a defensive rating of 105.9.  The Celtics absolutely need to play hard nose gritty team defense if they want to win this game.  They also need to defend without fouling since the Rockets shot 42 free throws to just 25 for the Celtics in their first meeting. 

Rebound -  In order to score, the Celtics need the ball and to get the ball, they will need to crash the boards as a team.   The Celtics average 45.2 rebounds per game while the Celtics average 45.9 rebounds per game.  Much of rebounding is effort and when the Celtics put out extra effort on the boards, it usually carries over into the rest of their game.  Even though the Rockets play small ball, they have very good rebounding guards and so the Celtics need to work hard to beat them to the rebounds. 

Energy and Aggressiveness - The Celtics need to play physical ball and be aggressive on both ends of the court.    They have to come out and play hard from start to finish with no let up. The Rockets play a physical brand of basketball and the Celtics must match their physicality.  Brad Stevens described the Rockets as a bunch of linebackers.  The Celtics have to be aggressive and they have to play like the team that wants it more for 48 minutes.  The Rockets are 2nd in pace at 103.9 while the Celtics are 17th at 100.00.  The Celtics need to be aggressive and match the Rockets' energy. 

Move the Ball Carefully - The Celtics are most successful when they keep the ball moving and don't lapse into hero ball.  They need to feed the hot hand and they need to find the open man.  They've been doing a good job of this for the  most part and need to keep it up.  They have to be careful with their passes because the Rockets are 6th in the league with 18.2 points off turnovers per game and if the Celtics get sloppy, the Rockets will make them pay.

Bench Play
- The Rockets' starters, especially Harden and Westbrook have been playing well but so has their bench.  Ben McLemore and Austin Rivers have both been shooting over 60% from the field and 50% from three over their last 5 games.  Jeff Green has been with the Rockets for 4 games and in those 4 games he is shooting 70% from the field and 61.5% from beyond the arc.  The Celtics reserves have to play well on both ends of the court for the Celtics to win. 

X-Factors
Home Game - The Celtics are playing at home once again and should get a boost from the home crowd that will hopefully be loud and rowdy and cheering them on.  The first game home after a road trip is always a tough game and so the Celtics need to stay focused and play well to keep the crowd into the game and loud enough to rattle the Rockets.   

Familiarity
- When these two teams met last, the Rockets had just traded Capela and the Celtics were the first team to face them after the trade.   No one knew what to expect from their small ball starting lineup.  The Celtics have  had time to watch film and to prepare for them and so should be a little better prepared to counter their game plan. 

Officiating - The officiating is always an x-factor.  James Harden always seems to get more than his share of free throws.   The Rockets, as a team, lead the league with 26.1 free throws per game.  The last time these two teams played, the Rockets shot 42 free throws to just 25 for the Celtics.  The Celtics can't let star calls and bad calls take away their focus.  They have to play through whatever calls go against them and not get frustrated.  Hopefully the refs will call the game evenly and it won't be an issue but you never know. 

Re: Rockets (38-20) at Celtics (41-17) Game #59 2/29.20
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2020, 10:40:05 PM »

Offline csfansince60s

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Go Cs!

Rock the ROX!

TP FL CeltsFan!

Thank you for another great thread!

Re: Rockets (38-20) at Celtics (41-17) Game #59 2/29.20
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2020, 10:41:06 PM »

Online FLCeltsFan

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TP to csfansince60s   for being the first to post in the game thread!

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Celtics!!

Beat the Rockets!!!!!!!!

Re: Rockets (38-20) at Celtics (41-17) Game #59 2/29.20
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2020, 10:43:09 PM »

Offline footey

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Tp 60ís and FLCF!!!

Letís go!!!

Re: Rockets (38-20) at Celtics (41-17) Game #59 2/29.20
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2020, 10:43:41 PM »

Offline Ogaju

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GO CELTICS TP FLCF  FOR A GREAT GAME THREAD

GO CELTICS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BEAT THE ROCKETS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Re: Rockets (38-20) at Celtics (41-17) Game #59 2/29.20
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2020, 10:44:33 PM »

Offline footey

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With win we move into 2nd place tie with Raptors!

Welcome back Time Lord!!

Re: Rockets (38-20) at Celtics (41-17) Game #59 2/29.20
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2020, 10:46:52 PM »

Offline seancally

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Big game! Letís go! Take 2nd seed and donít look back  8)
"The game honors toughness." - President Stevens

Re: Rockets (38-20) at Celtics (41-17) Game #59 2/29.20
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2020, 10:50:59 PM »

Offline CaNdyMaN1369

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Let's Go Celtics!!!             ;D                  Beat the Rockets!!!

TP...                     FLCF...

Re: Rockets (38-20) at Celtics (41-17) Game #59 2/29.20
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2020, 10:57:02 PM »

Offline rondofan1255

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Go Cís

Re: Rockets (38-20) at Celtics (41-17) Game #59 2/29.20
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2020, 10:59:22 PM »

Offline Somebody

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Go Celtics!!!
Rockets PG: Westbrook, Rivers, Clemons SG: Harden, Gordon, McLemore
SF: House, Carroll, Caboclo PF: Covington, Green, Williams
C: Tucker, Hartenstein, Bender
Warriors PG: Curry, Jackson, Bowman SG: Thompson, Lee, Poole
SF: Wiggins, Okoro, Anderson PF: Green, Paschall, MKG
C: Looney, Chriss, Smiley

Re: Rockets (38-20) at Celtics (41-17) Game #59 2/29.20
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2020, 11:19:00 PM »

Offline Silas

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Go Cs!
I'm very busy doing nothing of substance!

Re: Rockets (38-20) at Celtics (41-17) Game #59 2/29.20
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2020, 11:34:51 PM »

Offline hwangjini_1

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first page!!!

big game for the celtics and that means a big win for the celtics!!

tks flc, a tp as ever.

gooooooooooooooooooooo celtics!!  ;D
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Re: Rockets (38-20) at Celtics (41-17) Game #59 2/29.20
« Reply #12 on: February 29, 2020, 12:54:54 AM »

Offline smokeablount

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I know this is a big one but on average we win by 10 points a game at home and Houston on average wins by 1 point a game on the road.  Fuzzy math, I know, but it's a 9 point margin.  This game seems like it should be a bit easier than the hype suggests- that is, if we play well and the refs don't ref everything up.
Give us this pick, Almighty Red
And forgive us our tanking
As we forgive those who tanked against us
And lead us not into the lottery
But deliver us from losing

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Re: Rockets (38-20) at Celtics (41-17) Game #59 2/29.20
« Reply #13 on: February 29, 2020, 12:55:49 AM »

Offline liam

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GO CELTICS!

Re: Rockets (38-20) at Celtics (41-17) Game #59 2/29.20
« Reply #14 on: February 29, 2020, 01:19:20 AM »

Offline RockinRyA

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If we win this game I believe this is the first time since 2008 that we have beaten all 29 teams at least once in the regular season.