Game 39 Preview: Houston Rockets vs. Boston Celtics

The Rockets head to The House that McHale Built. It's the Garden. Or, as a Bostonian would say, the Gaaaahhhh-dun!

This is the only matchup between the two teams this season, and it's coming right after Rajon Rondo did this silly thing where he went 18/20/17. As Luis would say, "He look ok."

Except Bill Simmons to soil himself in preparation for this game, as it involves his two favorite things in the world: the Celtics, and Daryl Morey. His third favorite thing is annoying me, but he doesn't know that yet.

The Celtics were left for dead a while back. They have two separate five-game losing streaks. They have lost to the Hornets (9-28), Cleveland (13-23), Toronto (12-26), and the Pistons (12-26) twice. They are currently riding a four game winning streak and sit in seventh place in the East at 19-17.

Though things could get pretty rough for them pretty soon. After this game, 9 of their next 10 are on the road. And 8 of those ten are against teams that either made the playoffs last year or will almost certainly make it this year. So they know how important these home games are. After all, the Celtics have won 14 homes (to 8 losses) and have played on the road 14 times total (going 5-9).

Big game for both teams. We'll see how the Rockets handle getting kicked in the mouth.

Matchups after the jump. Tip is at 6:30pm CST.

Matchups:

PG: Kyle Lowry vs. Rajon Rondo:

When a guy does what Rondo did to the Knicks, it's pretty much impossible not to give him the advantage. So he gets it, no doubt.

I do really love this post-game quote from Lowry though after the loss to the Clippers:

It sucks that we lost. We need to play with better effort and better intensity. Sucks that we lost that one. It hurts a lot. It sucks that we lost that game.

Advantage: Celtics

SG: Kevin Martin vs. Ray Allen:

I don't mind K-Mart pulling up for the winner. I also don't mind him trying to "take over" in overtime. Yes, hindsight is 20/20. He hadn't played at the end of regulation and it was apparent that he was the only guy on the team with real legs at the end, especially with Lee having to defend Paul. I know I'm in the minority here. Of course if he hits it everyone claims they knew it, so whatever. Here's the thing: I expect a big game from K-Mart today. No joke.

Ray Allen is so consistent. Ho hum just averaging 48% from three, which would easily be the highest of his career if it holds up. Oh, and he's 36.

Advantage: Rockets

SF: Chandler Parsons vs. Paul Pierce:

Lost in the hoopla of Rondo's achievement against the Knicks is that Pierce scored 34 points on better than 50% shooting. When he does that, the Celtics are tough to beat.

It's imperative that Parsons annoy the crap out of Pierce, just like he annoys everyone who watches him play.

Advantage: Celtics

PF: Luis Scola vs. Kevin Garnett:

Garnett is averaging 21/10 over his last five games. I'm glad he picked up his game in time for the Rockets. Really, I do.

Luis played pretty well here two years ago. Remember this?

Rockets score final 10 points in OT to stun Celtics on 4/2/2010 (via clutchfansDOTnet)

Advantage: Even

C: Samuel Dalembert vs. Brandon Bass:

So Dalembert woke up, it seems. Hopefully it wasn't a one-and-done situation. We need him to be good for the rest of the season if we want to get back in this sucker.

I've always liked Bass, even when he was a Maverick. Man, that was tough to say.

Advantage: Rockets

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Bench/Role Players:

Celtics: Keyon Dooling, Avery Bradley, Chris Wilcox, Mickael Pietrus

Rockets: Goran Dragic, Chase Budinger, Patrick Patterson, Courtney Lee, Greg Smith

Advantage: Rockets

Injuries/Inactives:

Celtics: Jermaine O'Neal day-to-day

Rockets: Jordan Hill out

Prediction: Rockets stun the Celts 100-96

Make sure you get in on TCWHRO (we have to figure out another way to say that)'s fantasy basketball game. Detailshere. Just make your predictions in the comments, and maybe explain how you came to that conclusion so we have something to talk about.

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