at Houston Rockets (21-15) at Boston Celtics (18-17)
Friday, January 11, 2013
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #36, Home Game #18
TV: CSN-NE, CSN-H, NBA-LP 752(HOU)/753(BOS)
Radio: WEEI, KBME
TD GardenProbable Starting Matchups Point Guard
Rajon Rondo vs Jeremy Lin Shooting Guard
Avery Bradley vs James Harden Small Forward
Paul Pierce vs Chandler Parsons Power Forward
Brandon Bass vs Marcus Morris
Kevin Garnett vs Omer Asik Bench
Chris Wilcox (thumb) day to day
Fab Melo (concussion) out Bench
Cole Aldrich Injured
Patrick Beverly Suspended
Royce WhiteTeam 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
Jeff Green and James Harden were teammates in Oklahoma City from 2009-11.Game Notes
The Celtics host Kevin Mchale the Houston Rockets, looking to avenge their earlier loss and to keep their season high 4 game win streak going. The Rockets are coming off a loss to New Orleans, but before that, they had won 5 in a row and have been playing very well.
The Celtics lost to the Rockets 101-89 in Houston on their recent 4 game trip that started on Christmas Day. In that game, they had a 2 point lead at the half but were outscored 58-44 in the second half. The Celtics shot only 40% in that game. Houston is 8-3 in their last 11 games in Boston.
The Rockets are 7-3 in their last 10 games while the Celtics are 5-5, in spite of winning their last 4 in a row. The Celtics have played well at home with an 11-6 record at the Garden. On the other hand, the Rockets have struggled somewhat on the road, going just 7-9.
The Celtics are finally back over .500 and they are looking to stay there. After the Celtics win over the Knicks, Courtney Lee said that he wants to go on a 20 game win streak starting with these 5 home games. That would be nice, but they have to do it one game at a time, starting with this one. Key Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs Jeremy Lin
Since Linsanity became a phenomenon, Rondo had delighted in showing up Lin in every meeting they've had. In their meeting this season in Houston Rondo had 15 points, 13 assists and 4 steals, to outplay Lin's 5 points, 7 assists, and 1 steal. Look for more of the same in this game.
Avery Bradley vs James Harden
In the last game between these teams, Harden was guarded by Jason Terry and scored a team high 21 points to go with 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals. This time, Bradley should make things a bit harder on him. 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 finally coming together defensively, and that trend needs to continue. It has been their defense that led to their season high 4 game winning streak. 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. 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 active. Bench Play
- The Celtics need their second unit to come in and contribute on both ends of the court. It was the reserves that pulled out the game against the Suns behind strong play from Sully, Green, Lee and Terry. It would be great to start seeing consistency from this group and they will need it in this game. A key matchup off the bench in this game will be Greg Smith vs Sully. Smith torched the Celtics off the bench for 20 points (8-9) with 6 rebounds and 3 blocks in their last meeting. Sully needs to make sure that doesn't happen again. X-Factors
Home Court and Swagger
The Celtics are in the midst of a home stand and they need to use the energy from the crowd to give them a boost. The Celtics are getting their swagger back that has been missing so far this season. Hopefully they keep it.