The Houston Rockets got blown out by the Phoenix Suns then got a gut punch from the Utah Jazz. With just one game remaining before the All-Star break, the Rockets would surely like to end the unofficial first half of the season with a win.
The Boston Celtics are pushing for a top 2 spot in the Eastern Conference, and sit just one back in the loss column to the Toronto Raptors as I type this. They are on a 7-game winning streak and would be the talk of the league right now if not for Toronto’s own streak.
Boston is sending two players to the All-Star Game in Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum, and frankly they probably deserved a third in Jaylen Brown. Those three and Marcus Smart made up the backbone of Team USA this summer at the World Cup, a group that could include James Harden and Russell Westbrook this summer for the Olympics in Tokyo.
This should be an interesting game since the Celtics have the ability to try to outsize the Rockets with Enes “Can’t Play” Kanter or Daniel Theis, or they can try to match up with small ball of their own with Walker, Smart, Tatum, Brown, and Gordon Hayward since that’s a lineup that shoots really well from deep as well. I know everyone has their eyes on the Rockets and Zach Lowe mentioned that the Clippers might play copycat with Houston’s Pocket Rockets, but in the East I think we might see the Celtics try to steal this lineup, especially if they can deploy it successfully against the Raptors or Bucks.
Tip-off is at 8:30pm CT on TNT, where I’m sure the TNT guys totally won’t bash the small ball lineup the whole time