at Houston Rockets (21-17) at Boston Celtics (19-17)
Tuesday March 6
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #37, Home Game #23
TV: CSN-NE, FSH, NBA-LP 755/756
Radio: WEEI, KILT
TD Garden Probable Starting Matchups Point Guard
Rajon Rondo vs Kyle LowryShooting Guard
Ray Allen vs Kevin Martin Small Forward
Paul Pierce vs Chandler Parsons Power Forward
Brandon Bass vs Louis Scola
Kevin Garnett vs Samuel Dalembert Bench
Jermaine O'Neal (wrist) out Bench
Patrick Patterson Injured
Jordan Hill (MCL) out Team Connections
Patrick Patterson and Rajon Rondo attended the University of Kentucky
Assistant Coach Mike Longabardi worked for Houston from 2003-07
Hasheem Thabeet and Ray Allen both attended the University of Connecticut
Rockets Coach Kevin McHale played for the Celtics from 1980-93, was a member of three championship teams and had his #32 retired on January 30, 1994
Marcus Morris and Paul Pierce both attended the University of Kansas
Courtney Lee and Mickael Pietrus were teammates in Orlando during the 2008-09 season
Goran Dragic and Mickael Pietrus were teammates in Phoenix during the 2010-11 season.Game Notes
The Celtics conclude their home stand with their one and only meeting the the Houston Rockets, who are coached this season by Celtic legend Kevin McHale. The Rockets have stayed under the radar for the most part but are 4 games over .500.
The Rockets are 9th in the league in scoring with 97.2 ppg while the Celtics are down at 26th with 90.9 ppg. The Celtics are more efficient shooting 45.6% from the field while Houston is shooting 44.8%. Neither team is a great rebounding team but Houston is better with 41.9 rpg to just 39.3 for the Celtics (last in the NBA).
Both teams are 5-5 in their last 10 games. Both teams have 17 losses but the Rockets have played 2 more games than the Celtics and so have 2 more wins. The Celtics are 14-8 at home while the Rockets have struggled a bit on the road with a 6-11 record. The Celtics are in the 7th spot in the East while the Rockets are sitting in the 7th spot in the West. The Celtics are just 1-7 against Western opponents while the Rockets have fared better against the East with an 8-2 record.
The Celtics have won 4 in a row while the Rockets have lost their last 3. Here's hoping that both streaks stay alive after this game. Key Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs Kyle Lowry
Rondo is coming off a huge game against New York. The big question is whether he can follow up that game with another big game even though the competition at point guard isn't a big marque matchup. The Celtics need a strong game from their point guard since as goes Rondo so go the Celtics.
Brandon Bass vs Luis Scola
Scola is a tough player and Bass needs to be able to give as good as he gets from Scola. Bass must try to keep Scola from getting to the rim. Honorable Mention
Kevin Garnett vs Samuel Dalembert
KG has been playing like he's been drinking from the fountain of youth. Dalembert isn't known for his tough defense and so KG may have a big game in this one. Keys to the Game Defense
- The Celtics must keep their defensive mindset. Defense wins games. The Celtics offense and energy always feeds off of what they do on the defensive end. It all starts with defense. Rebounding
- The Celtics must make an effort to crash the boards as a team. The fact that Rondo could get 17 rebounds vs the Knicks among all the bigger players shows how much of a factor effort and desire are in rebounding. Every Celtic must make an effort to box out and grab rebounds to prevent put backs, second chance points and fast breaks by the Rockets. Ball Movement
- The Celtics are tough to beat when they keep the ball moving and find the open man. It is when the ball gets stagnant and players try to do too much and the ball stops moving that the Celtics struggle to score and look vulnerable. They must move the ball without turning the ball over due to sloppy passing. Be Aggressive
- The Celtics have to be aggressive in going after loose balls, grabbing rebounds and taking the ball to the basket. They have to be the team that plays with more energy and the team that is more aggressive. They have to play like they want it more. Play 48 Minutes
- The Celtics can't afford to come out sluggish or to slack off after the half or down the stretch. They have to come out strong and play for 48 minutes without let up. The bench has to continue where the starters leave off and give the team a boost when they come in. X-Factor
Home Court and Effort
The Celtics will have the home court behind them and have done a good job of defending the home court so far on this home stand and they will soon be going out on the road for an extended period. They have to use the home crowd to give them a boost. The Celtics played hard and put out a lot of effort to beat the Knicks and they have to put that same effort into this game if they want to come away with the win.