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Houston Rockets vs. Boston Celtics game preview

Boston Celtics vs Houston Rockets Staff Photo By Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald

Coming off an impressive road win over the Chicago Bulls, the Houston Rockets must quickly shift their focus to the best team by record in ball tonight as they take on the Boston Celtics at the Boston Garden FleetCenter TD Banknorth Garden TD Garden.

Whereas the Bulls game was a winnable contest in which the Rockets still entered as 7-point underdogs, tonight’s matchup is a true barometer of where the Rockets stand in relation to the cream of the crop. The Celtics cemented their spot at the top of the East with an emphatic victory on Christmas over the team most likely to give them trouble in the postseason in the Milwaukee Bucks. Yes, I know the Brooklyn Nets are surging and the Philadelphia 76ers have played at a high level despite being without key players for large chunks of time, but the Celtics basically showed that if they can get to the postseason with home court advantage, everyone is in trouble.

Houston’s on a back-to-back, but the Celtics are coming off an emotional game that they were clearly excited to play. Now they go from their biggest competitor to one they should blow out. We’ll see if they overlook the Rockets.

Also, is anyone else starting to wonder if Ime Udoka really was such a great coach? Because uh, it looks like the Celtics are doing just fine without him.

Tip-off is at 6:30pm CT on AT&T SportsNet Southwest