NBA 2018-19, Houston Rockets vs Boston Celtics: Preview and prediction
Houston Rockets (18-15) vs Boston Celtics (20-13), Toyota Center
Houston Rockets will host the Boston Celtics tonight at the Toyota centre in Houston, Texas.
The Rockets are coming off a victory against Oklahoma City Thunder, whereas Celtics beat the Philadelphia 76ers in their previous match.
Let us see how things stand for both teams.
The Houston Rockets' perspective
The Rockets are on a roll with seven wins in the last eight games they have played. They have been super-impressive lately, especially at home.
Their Christmas Day victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder was a delight to watch. It was a James Harden show all the way as he knocked down 41 points and dished out seven assists.
Clint Capela grabbed 23 rebounds and scored 16 points. Also, Eric Gordon started the game this time and scored 17 points and six rebounds.
The Rockets were able to grab the win despite Chris Paul not being available for the game.
The team has begun to show signs of improved defence, as they have jumped from 26th to 11th position in the defensive ranking in the last eight games.
They will be looking to seal another one at home tonight against a reborn Boston Celtics' team.
The Boston Celtics' perspective
The Celtics have won two games back-to-back, and will be looking to win the third one on the trot tonight. They are the third best defensive team in the NBA right now and will make life tough for the Rockets' offence.
The Celtics' Christmas Day victory against the Philadelphia 76ers saw an "Uncle Drew" show. Kyrie Irving scored 40 points and 10 rebounds, helping the Celtics to a 121-114 overtime victory.
Jason Tatum and Marcus Morris Sr. supported him well with 23 points apiece.
The Celtics are deadly on the road, with eight wins out of the nine games. They will be looking to maintain the winning momentum at the Toyota Center.
James Harden (bruised calf) - Questionable
Chris Paul (strained left hamstring) - OUT
James Ennis III (strained right hamstring) - OUT
Aron Baynes (metacarpal fracture) - OUT
Jabari Bird (personal reasons) - OUT
How things might unfold
Al Horford has returned after an injury, and the Celtics have won the last two games with him on the team. They are a deep lineup and are active on both the ends of the floor.
The Rockets, on the other hand, are on an upswing as well. They have been improving lately on the defensive end of the floor but still lack consistency. Moreover, Harden is questionable for the game because of a bruised calf.
The Celtics have a definite edge here.