Houston Rockets (2-0) at Boston Celtics (1-1)
Saturday October 11
Verizon Wireless Arena
Manchester, New Hampshire
TV: CSN, LP Ch 751 (DTV)
Game Thread l Chat
The Houston Rockets have to be one of the teams that will be challenging for the title in the West. They had a 22 game win streak last season that was ended by the Boston Celtics. And, this season they have added Ron Artest who gives the Rockets their own Big Three of Tracy McGrady, Yao Ming, and Ron Artest. They have also added 3 point specialist Brent Barry who gives them another dimension and spreads the floor.. They also have a James Posey type player in Shane Battier who may be a difference maker for them with his defense.. They are 2-0 this preseason, having beaten the Grizzlies and the Spurs.
Since they are still trying to find chemistry with their new pieces and have two major pieces out (McGrady and Battier), we won't see what they can really do in this meeting, but they are a team to watch this season. The Rockets' starters have been playing a little more than the Celtics' starters, but don't expect to see either team's starters for big minutes. Even if it is just for a short time, the Paul Pierce - Ron Artest matchup is always one to watch and very entertaining.
This will be a test for the Celtics young guys as they play their first back to back games of the season. Since the starters will once again play limited minutes and the bench will see the bulk of the time on the floor, consistency and stamina will be concerns as the Celtics' coaches watch the young guys.
Probable Starting Matchups
PG: Rajon Rondo vs Raefer Alston
SG: Ray Allen vs Brent Barry
SF: Paul Pierce vs Ron Artest
PF: Kevin Garnett vs Louis Scola
C: Patrick O'Bryant vs Yao Ming
Players to Watch
Walker Pruitt O'Bryant Giddens Miles
Doc will be looking at these young guys to see what they can do. One of these 5 players may very well be on the bubble and won't be on the team on opening night so they need to prove themselves every game. Walker and O'Bryant have impressed so far. Giddens, Pruit, and Miles have all shown flashes of talent worth keeping them for.
Rocket's fans will be watching to see how their new players work together and how Yao Ming looks after missing much of last season with an injury. They are trying to build chemistry and so coaches will be watching for how different combinations work. Also watch out for Landry who scored 18 points in the game against the Grizzlies and can be a force off the bench for them. Ron Artest is always a player to watch as you never know when he will go in melt down mode or decide to pull a players shorts down as a defensive strategy. Brent Barry is always a dangerous player and can put up points in a hurry.
As with most preseason games, you can't take much from the matchups or the win/loss records. Both coaches will be experimenting with lineups and watching players who may be on the bubble to see who makes the rotation and who doesn't.