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Game #67 - Preview: Celtics @ Rockets

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Boston Celtics
Record: 53-13
Last Ten Games: 9-1
Points scored per game: 100.6
Points allowed per game: 90.3   
Pace Factor: 91.0 (17th of 30)
Offensive Rating: 110.2 (9th of 30)
Defensive Rating: 98.9 (1st of 30)

Houston Rockets
Record: 46-20
Last Ten Games: 10-0
Points scored per game: 97.1
Points allowed per game: 91.7
Pace Factor: 90.6 (21st of 30)
Offensive Rating: 106.8 (15th of 30)
Defensive Rating: 100.8 (2nd of 30)

Hat tip to basketball-reference.com for info on the Celtics and the

Rajon Rondo vs. Rafer Alston
Tony Allen vs. Tracy McGrady
Paul Pierce vs. Shane Battier
Kevin Garnett vs. Luis Scola
Kendrick Perkins vs. Dikembe Mutombo

Schedule Notes
The Rockets hosted the Bobcats on Friday, took Saturday off, defeated the Lakers at home on Sunday and had yesterday off. Meanwhile, the Celtics lost to the Jazz in Boston on Friday, got back on the winning track in Milwaukee the following night and took Sunday off before beating the Spurs on Monday. Advantage Houston.

Last Time They Met
The Celtics played their first home game after a successful trip out West where they defeated the Kings, Sonics, Jazz and Lakers. That coupled with the fact that Tracy McGrady did not play made it the perfect trap game. And the Celtics just pulled out a four-point victory in the end. That was thanks in large part to Kevin Garnett carrying the team down the stretch. I'm pretty sure Paul Pierce actually jumped on KG's back when it was all said and done.

Irony
A year ago I gave Tommy Heisohn the "Minister of Information" nickname after he compared Gerald Green's game to Tracy McGrady's during a lousy Celtics/Rockets game. Well T-Mac has never been cut by a NBA team. And the worst thing is that Green leaving wasn't even the part of the title of the story. It happened 10 days ago and I did not even realize until reader Fly Gerald Fly pointed it out.

Skip to My Lou
The main Rockets blog out there, the Dream Shake, does not like Rafer Alston. So even though he has been playing well and he did recently drop 8 three pointers on the Rockets, they don't really trust him. He did always strike me as a high risk, high reward guy with a dose of turnoveritis and inconsistency. But he's a great test for Rondo.

Bulletin Board Material
Last night Greg Dickerson relayed a story on the air about Ray Allen hoping the Rockets' streak remained in tact so that the Celtics could break it.

Carl Landry in the House?
NBA bloggers are a strange collection of individuals that spend a lot of time obsessing about a league that many love to criticize. It's a club of sorts. And knowing who Landry is helps separate bloggers from the general public who may learn who he is tonight. That is if Landry is ready to play. He has been hurt. Although his return seems more likely than Ray Allen's.

Stupid Argument
If a team played the Bobcats and Grizzlies a combined 22 straight times they would be hard pressed to win every game. So stop saying the Rockets have not beaten anyone. And let's not rush to the "it won't last in the playoffs" argument. There is a time for that and it is not now. Winning 22 straight is an amazing accomplishment. In fact only one other team has ever done it.

Who Guards McGrady?
T-Mac is too tall and long for Tony Allen and too fast and long for Paul Pierce. I feel incredibly uncomfortable after typing that last sentence. To be honest KG is probably the best match up. And McGrady is quicker than KG.

Be The Truth
This is a big game for Paul Pierce as fans around the country and even some Celtics fans don't entirely trust him. Well this is as good as time as any to step up. Well actually not as good a time as May and June, but it is a TNT game with a good defender - Shane Battier - on the other team. I hope the Truth rises to the occasions and silences a few critics.

The Celtics Are Good
And have been so all season. How else can you explain the fact that the Rockets have won 22 straight, and are still 7 games behind Boston's pace?

Yao Ming, Yao Ming, Yao Ming, Yao Ming....Yao Ming
Sing the title for this section the way they sing ole. It will haunt you. Side story. In college reader PNH91 had a life size Yao Ming poster. I don't think you understand a) how awesome it was and b) how big his calves are. Yao Ming is really, really big. Everyone knows that but it is always surprising when he makes Kendrick Perkins look small. Well that won't happen tonight because Yao is recovering from surgery contemplating what life will be like once the Chinese government forces him to play in the Olympics, ruining his health and career in the process. Seriously, best of luck to Yao as he recovers. Some day I'll do a book review of Operation Yao Ming, which is fantastic. Yao comes off like a nice guy with a ton of weight on his shoulders.  

That's it for now...