Hey guys! I’m filling in for AK for today’s preview of our matchup with the Boston Celtics. I’ve got big shoes to fill but I’m going to do my best.
Houston has not played at home since what seems like the last Ice Age, and tonight fans should be loud and excited at the Toyota Center as they are coming off a fantastic 4-1 road trip highlighted by a win over the Warriors last Thursday.
The West Coast road trip may have been difficult, but that does not mean that the schedule softens. The Celtics are sitting pretty at 12-8 and are third in the Eastern Conference. They have won five straight road games coming into tonight. This should be a very good game and another test for the Rockets. Houston has lost to two of the East’s top contenders already this year, so hopefully the Rockets will be able to prove that they can compete with the beasts of the East.
The Celtics came here last year and blew us out of our own gym, leading to the firing of coach Kevin McHale. The Rockets who were here last year remember that painful loss and want their revenge on Boston.
Boston has much of the same team as last year except for addition of Al Horford and the subtraction of Evan Turner. Horford has enjoyed a strong start with the Celtics this year despite a concussion that took him out of nine games. Since his return, the Celtics are 6-2 and he should provide a good challenge for Clint Capela at the center spot. Capela has held his own against the league’s best bigs so far this season, and tonight should be a good battle.
Horford has developed a three-point shot throughout his career, and Boston has become one of the better three-point shooting teams in the league. They don’t shoot at the volume that Houston does, but Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley are two very good three-point shooters, and if they make their shots, Boston will remain in the game.
Houston can set the pace and tempo of the game with their three-point shooting as they lead the league in attempts. They have three of the top three-point shooters in the game in James Harden, Eric Gordon, and Trevor Ariza. However, Ariza is questionable to play tonight after he injured his back in Friday’s win against Denver. Look for Ryan Anderson and Sam Dekker, who have both been very hot from three, to fill in tonight if necessary.
I always think Houston has a chance to win because of their three-point shooting, and Trevor being out really throws a wrench in the Rockets’ offense and defense. I love our chances to win if he plays tonight, but if he sits out, which I think will happen, this game will be a lot closer than it should be.
I’ll take the Rockets 114-110 in a close one.