Boston Celtics (2-1) at Houston Rockets (3-0)
Tuesday November 4th, 8:30 PM ET
Season Game #4, Road Game #2
TV: Comcast SportsNet, NBA TV
Rockets Blog: The Dream Shake
Probable Starting Lineups
Rajon Rondo vs. Rafer Alston
Ray Allen vs. Tracy McGrady
Paul Pierce vs. Ron Artest
Kevin Garnett vs. Luis Scola
Kendrick Perkins vs. Yao Ming
Both the Celtics and Rockets last played on Saturday. Boston lost on the road to Indiana and Houston knocked off the Thunder in the Toyota Center. Advantage Houston.
Injury Report: Boston - No Injuries Reported, Houston - Shane Battier, Questionable (ankle).
Players to Watch
Leon Powe and Carl Landry. According to their NBA.com profiles Landry has an inch and 9 pounds on Powe. And while their games are not exact replicas, there are similarities. Hollinger's PER loves them and they both benefited from the rise of the undersized power forward over the last several seasons. Finally, they're both bidding their time and improving before they sign nice contracts.
Key Match Up
Given how Rondo and Alston faced off the last two time these teams met, it would be easy to go with the point guard match up. However, that's clearly the under card to Pierce/Artest. As a Celtics blogger I'm legally obligated to link to the infamous shorts incident. Having gotten that out of the way I have one question: Is Artest playing consistent, hard defense again? I have not seen him in Houston yet and that definitely could be the case. However, over the last few seasons Artest was picking his spots. He still had the reputation as a stellar defender, but I felt he did not work as hard on the perimeter. Perhaps I'm wrong. Regardless, it will be interesting to see how he plays with his new team.
Meanwhile, I love where Pierce's game is right now. He used to make me a little nervous at times and I would worry about someone like Artest getting inside The Truth's head. It was just last season that Pierce was ejected on MLK Day. Still, Pierce's physical and mental game have both come a long way. I'm looking for Pierce to bring his A game. By the way, if you click on that ejection clip you'll see how much weight Pierce has dropped since last season. It's noticeable.
Rockets imitate Deke! (via Odenized)
In case you were wondering, here's how I'd rank the top 3 Dikembe Impersonators:
#3 Steve Novak
#2 Aaron Brooks
#1 Shane Battier
You could make the case that the Rockets are this year's Celtics. Granted it's not a perfect analogy, as McGrady and Yao were in Houston together previously. But Artest's arrival led to lofty expectations. And the Rockets are off to a great start. Meanwhile, after a dismal showing in Indiana, I'd love to see the Celtics rebound and send an message.