The two sides are currently struggling. After several losses, both franchises are in positions they never expected to be in at the start of the 2020-21 campaign.
The Boston Celtics will try to halt their downward spiral after two consecutive home losses brought their record to below .500 at 23-25. They currently occupy eighth place in the Eastern Conference and will fall further down if they lose a third straight game.
Meanwhile, the Houston Rockets have lost their last two games and are in a worse spot in the Western Conference. They have a 13-34 record, the second-worst record in their conference.
Fixture - Houston Rockets vs Boston Celtics | 2020-21 NBA Season
Date & Time - Friday, April 2nd, 7:30 PM ET (Saturday, April 3rd, 5:00 AM IST)
Venue - TD Garden, Boston, MA
Houston Rockets Preview
The Houston Rockets’ season has been disastrous since they started the year with a disgruntled superstar on their roster. It got to its lowest point when they endured a 20-game losing streak from early February to late March.
Since then, they’ve won two of their last six games, which is a good stretch for them, considering the circumstances.
The Houston Rockets nearly won against the East-leading Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday when they led by six points with more than seven minutes to go in the fourth quarter. For most of the game, the Rockets were as competitive as any team in the league. Unfortunately, they lost 120-108 as the Nets rallied to put their opponents in their place.
Heading into the Boston Celtics game, the Houston Rockets will have to channel the same energy and relentlessness that they showed against Kyrie Irving and company if they want to win. However, it will be a tall order, especially without the injured John Wall.
Key Player - Christian Wood
Christian Wood's development is one of the few positives in the Houston Rockets’ horrendous season. Unleashed for the first time in his career, the undrafted 6-foot-10 forward/center is having a career year, despite a couple of sprained ankle issues.
Wood is averaging 21.2 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. If the Houston Rockets have an advantage on the floor, it will be in the paint, where Wood can bully ball the Boston Celtics’ centers.
Houston Rockets Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Kevin Porter Jr. l Shooting Guard - Sterling Brown l Small Forward - Danuel House Jr. Power Forward - Jae’Sean Tate l Center - Christian Wood
Boston Celtics Preview
Unless coach Brad Stevens can come up with a way to motivate his team, the Boston Celtics will start another game with very little passion. For two straight games, the 2020 Eastern Conference finalists had to come from behind just to make the final score more respectable.
In Wednesday's game versus the Dallas Mavericks, the Boston Celtics were down by 23 points in the third quarter before a failed rally ended in a 113-108 loss. Two nights earlier, they tried to make a comeback from a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit but came up short in the end, losing to the New Orleans Pelicans 115-109.
What made the losses worse was the fact that the Boston Celtics were playing both games at home in front of fans for the first time this season. They will be the hosts once more when they take on the Houston Rockets on Friday. However, as they’ve discovered the past two games, that’s not a guarantee that they’ll win.
Key Player - Jayson Tatum
A two-time All-Star, Jayson Tatum represents the Boston Celtics’ present and future.
The 23-year-old has a huge burden on his shoulders as he carries the hopes and dreams of the Celtics faithful. The team’s struggles weigh heavily on him as he tries to lift them out of their lowly predicament.
Talent-wise, Tatum is one of the best in the league. He’s averaging career-highs in points (25.4) and assists (4.4) while tying his best output in steals (1.4). He’s grabbing 6.9 rebounds a game as well. He produces night in and night out, but his efforts have not resulted in more wins for the Boston Celtics.
That will have to change in the coming games, beginning with the Houston Rockets matchup.
Boston Celtics Predicted Lineup
Point Guard - Kemba Walker l Shooting Guard - Marcus Smart l Small Forward - Jaylen Brown l Power Forward - Jayson Tatum l Center - Robert Williams III
Rockets vs Celtics Match Prediction
The Boston Celtics have struggled in the last few weeks, but not like the Houston Rockets have. While the visitors have tasted a couple of blowout wins in their previous six games, the home team will have momentum from their recent fourth-quarter rally to snap their two-game losing streak.
As good as the Houston Rockets have looked in four of their last six games, the Boston Celtics appear to have finally hit their stride. If they start the game strong, the Celtics should win this game and extend the Rockets’ losing streak to three.