Celtics return home to face the Rockets

Scott Halleran

It doesn't get any easier for the Celtics as they return home from their tough road trip to face the Houston Rockets.

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Houston Rockets (24-14) at Boston Celtics (13-25)
Monday, January 13, 2014
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #39, Home Game #19
TV: CSN-NE, CSN-H, NBA-LP 753(DTV)/752,753(Xfinity)
Radio: WEEI, KBME
TD Garden
Referees: Joe Crawford, Nick Buchert, Brian Forte


Game Thread l Chat


It doesn't get any easier for the Celtics as they return home from their tough road trip to face the Houston Rockets. The Celtics lost 85-109 to the Rockets on the road back in November.

The Rockets are 9-9 on the road and 6-4 in their last 10 games while the Celtics are 8-10 at home and 1-9 in their last 10. The Celtics have lost their last 8 games and desperately need a win in this game to end the skid. The Rockets are looking for their second straight win.

The Rockets have been without Chandler Parsons for the past 3 games but expect him back in the lineup up for this one. The Celtics kept the games close against both the Blazers and the Warriors and had a chance to win both games. They have to find a way to solve their offensive droughts if they want to win this one.

The Dream Shake Rockets' blog gives the Rockets an advantage at just about every position except one: Announcers. After reading fans from every team hate on Tommy, this was refreshing to read, even if he was being a tad sarcastic.

Announcers: Tommy Heinsohn vs. Matt Bullard
Avalanche, landslide, tidal wave, Heinsohn wins. Is anyone a better homer than Heinsohn?
Heinshon is pure America. He might as well call games while wearing a colonial outfit, bald eagle perched on his shoulder, a Big Gulp in his hand and the keys to an aircraft carrier in his pocket.
The man has been calling games for 33 years and he's assuredly seen it all. When he gets excited you're worried for his own health and the health of those around him. When he starts yelling it's like Shannon Sharpe yelling through a damp towel. Who cares what he's saying? It's pure excitement.
I'm privately pulling for a Rockets win that's close enough to get a few moments of pure Heinsohn joy -- Yes, I will be watching the Celtics broadcast on League Pass.
Probable Starting Matchups
Point Guard

vs
Jordan Crawford vs Jeremy Lin

Shooting Guard
vs
Avery Bradley vs James Harden

Small Forward

vs
Jeff Green vs Chandler Parsons

Power Forward
vs
Brandon Bass vs Terrence Jones

Center

vs
Kris Humphries vs Dwight Howard

Reserves
MarShon Brooks
Vitor Faverani
Kelly Olynyk
Phil Pressey
Jerryd Bayless
Keith Bogans
Gerald Wallace
Jared Sullinger

Injuries
Rajon Rondo (ACL)any day now

Reserves
Aaron Brooks
Ronnie Brewer
Omri Casspi
Isaiah Canaan
Donatas Motiejunas
Francisco Garcia
Greg Smith

Injuries

Patrick Beverly (hand) out
Omer Asik (knee) out
Chandler Parsons (knee) game time decision

Key Matchups
vs
Harden is always a threat to score and so Avery will need to be at his defensive best to keep him from going off. He also needs to stay out of foul trouble as Harden has a penchant for flopping.

vs
Howard is very tough if allowed to get into his comfort zones. Humphries has been playing good defense, but Howard will be a challenge. We may see some Vitor if Humphries can't slow Howard down.

Keys to the Game
Defense - The Rockets have the #3 ranked offense in the league, scoring 105.3 points per game. The Celtics defense was weak against the Blazers, allowing them to score 112 points. It's important for them to play tough defense as it will be very difficult to outscore the Rockets high powered offense if they don't.

Rebound - The Rockets are 7th in the league in rebounding with 45.2 per game. Much of rebounding is effort and energy and the Celtics must show both and crash the boards to keep the Rockets from getting easy points off rebounds.

Effort and Energy - The Celtics simply don't have the talent to beat teams on talent alone. They must win with energy and effort and grit. They have to be the team that wants it more and that works harder for the win.

Be Aggressive - Going along with the effort and energy, the Celtics have to be the more aggressive team. The have to be more aggressive in going after rebounds and loose balls. They have to be aggressive on defense and in going to the basket. And they have to keep up that aggressiveness the entire game.

X-Factors
Home and Fatigue

The Celtics are back home again and should get a boost from finally playing in front of the home crowd again. They are going to have to overcome the fatigue of playing in 5 games in 7 nights on the road.


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