Houston Rockets vs. Boston Celtics game preview

Jared Wickerham

The Rockets look to bounce back after crumbling against the Hornets on Wednesday.

The Celtics are dead last in rebounds per game. The Rockets have been struggling on the boards, so this is a good opponent in that respect.

Offensively, they're challenged, which is surprising to me. You've got a great distributor, a small forward who can make a whiny face and get a foul call, and a power forward/center that can post up and hit jumpers. Like I said, it makes little sense.

Oh, and I hate Jason Terry.

Tip off is at 6:30pm CST.

Matchups:

Point Guard: Jeremy Lin vs. Rajon Rondo

Rondo is the most valuable player for the Celtics. It's important that the Rockets give him jump shots and not try to run him off his spot when closing out. Rather, they should stay solid and not allow him to drive into the lane and do damage to the Rockets.

Advantage: Celtics

Shooting Guard: James Harden vs. Avery Bradley

James Harden has to get fouls when he's driving to the basket. So many games this season have been decided by whether or not Harden's forays warrant a whistle or not. If he's getting them, the Rockets are tough to beat. When the refs are silent (as they were during stretches against the Hornets), Harden and the Rockets start settling for threes. The Celtics play a physical brand of basketball mostly due to Garnett, so the team that controls the whistles might win this thing.

Advantage: Rockets

Small Forward: Chandler Parsons vs. Paul Pierce

Remember when Paul Pierce thought he was the best player in the league after the Celtics won the title? Yeah, it was hilarious.

Advantage: Celtics

Power Forward: Marcus Morris vs. Brandon Bass

I think tonight should be the night that the Rockets go back to Patterson at the 4. Bass is a banger, as is Jared Sullinger off the bench. In fact, the Rockets could easily run Patterson at the 5 and play small against the Celtics and could be pretty effective I think.

Advantage: Even

Center: Omer Asik vs. Kevin Garnett

Garnett is getting the advantage not because even though this matchup should be dominated by Asik, the Big O is playing like junk recently. It seems he's run into a wall once again. Hopefully the day off helped him recuperate.

Also, what's up with Greg Smith? He needs to dunk like three times tonight, preferably over that backup shooting guard that used to be play for the Mavericks.

Advantage: Celtics

Bench

Rockets: Toney Douglas, Carlos Delfino, Patrick Patterson, Greg Smith

Celtics: Courtney Lee, Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger, Leandro Barbosa, Player I Hate

Advantage: Celtics

Prediction: Celtics win 98-92.

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