at Boston Celtics (12-9) at Houston Rockets (10-11)
Friday, December 14, 2012
8:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #22, Road Game #10
TV: ESPN, CSN-NE, CSN-H
Radio: WEEI, KBME
Toyota Center Probable Starting Matchups Point Guard
Rajon Rondo vs Jeremy Lin Shooting Guard
Jason Terry vs James Harden Small Forward
Paul Pierce vs Chandler Parsons Power Forward
Brandon Bass vs Patrick Patterson
Kevin Garnett vs Omer Asik Bench
Avery Bradley (shoulders) out
Fab Melo Bench
Cole Aldrich Injured
Scott Machado Team Connections
Terrence Jones, Patrick Patterson and Rajon Rondo all attended the University of Kentucky
Celtics Assistant Coach Mike Longabardi worked for Houston from 2003-07
Courtney Lee played for the Rockets from 2010-12
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 Kansas
Jared Sullinger and Daequan Cook both attended Ohio State
Jeff Green and James Harden were teammates in Oklahoma City from 2009-11.Game Notes
The Celtics begin their 3 game road trip in Houston where they take Linsanity and The Beard. They also will face old friend and former Celtic, Kevin McHale, who is back on the Rockets bench after missing over a month due to the death of his daughter.
The Rockets are a decent home team with an 8-5 record at the Toyota Center. The Celtics have slipped to 4-5 on the road. Both teams are 6-4 in their last 10 games. The Celtics, who are going for their second 3 game win streak of the season, have climbed past Philly for 3rd in the Atlantic and have the same 12-9 record as the Nets. Both teams are 4 games behind the Knicks. Houston is looking for their second straight win and are 4th in the Southwest division, 7 games behind the Spurs.
First, Jeff Green faced his former team, then KG faced his former team, and in the last game, Jason Terry faced his former team. Now, it's time for Courtney Lee to face his old team. Lee has been struggling to find his role in the Celtics system and this would be a good time for a break out game from him.
The Celtics have a game in San Antonio on Saturday so they need to play smart and save some energy for the Spurs. Hopefully the bench will come through and allow the starters to get some rest. . Key Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs Jeremy Lin
As Rondo goes, so go the Celtics. The fact that Rondo played over 52 minutes in the Celtics 2OT win over the Mavs shows how important he is on the court. The Celtics simply don't have a replacement for him. The last time Rondo faced Lin in NY, he delighted in shutting him down. I can see him doing the same thing in this game.
Jason Terry vs James Harden
James Harden is capable of putting up a lot of points and Jason Terry will need to work extra hard on defense to contain him. At the same time, the Celtics need JET to get his shot back on track as they need his offense. Honorable Mention
Kevin Garnett vs Omer Asik
Asik is a good defender and so KG will have to use his veteran wiles to get his shot off against him. Asik won't put up a ton of points, but he is a double double threat and KG will need to try to keep him off the boards. Keys to the Game Defense
- The Celtics must keep their defensive mindset. Defense wins games and it will win a championship. The Celtics are beginning to come together defensively, and that trend needs to continue as they now need to develop more consistency on that end. They allowed Dallas to score 60 points in the paint. They have to keep the Rockets from getting into the paint to score. Rebounding
- Rebounding is second to defense in importance in winning games. The Celtics need to put out effort to crash the boards and prevent the Rockets second chance points and fast break opportunities which Lin and Harden will take full advantage of. Rebounding is effort and desire and when they Celtics bring the effort on the boards, it spreads to the other areas of their game. Be Aggressive
- Too many times we see the Celtics get beat to loose balls and rebounds. The Celtics have to be aggressive in going after loose balls, grabbing rebounds and taking the ball to the basket. After the double OT game on Wednesday, their legs may tire quicker and if the jumpers aren't falling, they have to get into the paint. The more aggressive team will get more respect from the refs and they also take some steam out of the other team by attacking and being aggressive. Bench Play
- The Celtics need their second unit to come in and contribute on both ends of the court. The starters are going to be tired and they are playing back to back and so the bench will be needed to come through with some quality minutes. X-Factor
Focus on the Road
The Celtics are on the road and need to keep their focus in order to win despite travel, hostile crowd and fatigue.