Boston Celtics at Houston Rockets
When: 9:30 PM ET, Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Where: Toyota Center, Houston, Texas
Preview for Digital Sports Desk by Gracenote
HOUSTON – The Boston Celtics are winners of seven in a row and will try to stay hot when they cap a two-game trip by visiting the Houston Rockets tonight. The Celtics and the Rockets came out on opposite ends of one-point decisions Sunday and Houston will be trying to avoid a three-game slide as it heads into the NBA All-Star break. The Celtics return to Boston with a Thursday meeting scheduled against the LA Clippers before their mid-season break.
The Rockets are committed to a lineup that does not include a player over 6-7 and could have used an extra inch of reach on the final play Sunday, when Utah’s Bojan Bogdanovic just got off a 3-point attempt over James Harden’s outstretched hand as time expired to give the Jazz a 114-113 win. “We all saw it,” Harden told reporters. “That’s a tough shot. I think I probably skimmed the ball. P.J. (Tucker) was on his body. I don’t know. It’s one of those tough shots. It hurt.”
The Celtics have two more games before the break and are trying to stay healthy heading forward while keeping the continuity that is allowing the team to grow during its seven-game streak. “I just think the ability to stay with multiple guys on the court at once obviously is a benefit,” Boston coach Brad Stevens told reporters after Sunday’s 112-111 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. “We’re still managing some minutes a little bit, especially with Kemba (Walker) over the next few games and then probably even after, just to be smart about it. I thought a lot of our guys did a lot of good things and I thought the guys on the bench that played both in spot minutes and in large minutes did a really good job.”
TIME: 9:30 p.m. ET. TV: TNT, NBCS Boston, AT&T SportsNet Southwest, Sportsnet One
ABOUT THE CELTICS (37-15): Boston is trying to be a team capable of winning games on both ends of the floor and has plenty of offensive depth with All-Stars Walker and Jayson Tatum flanked by Gordon Hayward and Jaylen Brown but also gives minutes to players with more of a defensive focus. Center Daniel Theis drew praise from coaches and teammates for his work against Thunder center Steven Adams on Sunday while guard Marcus Smart sealed the win with a steal in the final seconds. “Where do I start? He’s just the ultimate competitor,” Walker told reporters of Smart. “He definitely gets overshadowed. I think his offense gets overshadowed as well. He continuously just makes huge plays for us. He just does. Shots, stops, rebounds, blocks. He’s incredible, man.”
ABOUT THE ROCKETS (33-20): The extra space in the middle without a big man in the lineup is proving to be a benefit to point guard Russell Westbrook, who led the team with 39 points on 18-of-33 shooting on Sunday. Westbrook, who shot 42.6 percent from the floor through the first 31 games, scored 30 or more points in six of the last seven contests and is operating efficiently while knocking down 52.8 percent of his shots over his last 13 contests. Harden, who leads the NBA in scoring at an average of 35.2 points, went 2-of-13 from 3-point range on Sunday but recorded a triple-double with 28 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
- Rockets SG Eric Gordon (leg contusion) sat out Sunday and is day-to-day.
- Tatum recorded his seventh double-double of the season on Sunday with 26 points and 11 rebounds.
- Houston took the two meetings last season by an average of 12.5 points.
PREDICTION: Rockets 128, Celtics 120