Boston Celtics vs Houston Rockets: Predictions and Odds

How to Watch

Where: Toyota Center, Houston, TX

When: 8:00 PM EST, 27 December 2018

How (TV/Radio): TNT, AT&T Sportsnet – Southwest | 790 AM, WROR 109.7 FM

Boston Celtics

Head Coach: Brad Stevens {All-Time 241-202 | BOS}

The Boston Celtics currently sit fifth place in the Eastern Conference at 20-13. They are four games behind the first place Toronto Raptors.

In the last ten matches, the Boston Celtics are 7-3. Most recently coming off an overtime thriller against the Philadelphia 76ers, the Celtics are looking to keep up their success against the struggling Houston Rockets.

The Celtics will be going up against an undermanned Houston Rockets squad. Despite that, Mike D’Antoni’s style of play will always have a chance to keep his team in the game due to the high volume of attempts alone.

Houston Rockets

Head Coach: Mike D’Antoni {All-Time 593-485 | DEN, PHO, NYK, LAL, HOU}

At 18-15, the former Western Conference finalists are struggling in this years Western Conference. Tied with the Sacramento Kings for seventh in the West, they have just a half game on the Spurs.

In their last ten matches, the Houston Rockets are 7-3. After losing a nail biter against the Miami Heat on December 20th, the Rockets responded with back to back wins against the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Already undermanned, the Rockets are likely to be going into their match against the Celtics without their primary playmakers Chris Paul (Hamstring) and James Harden (Calf). The Rockets will look to Michael Carter-Williams and

What’s At Stake?

The Boston Celtics and the Houston Rockets have met 117 times in the history of their franchises. In the all-time series, the Boston Celtics lead 72-45.

Should the Boston Celtics win against the Houston Rockets, they would improve to 21-13. Maintaining their fifth place position in the Eastern Conference table, but improving to only three games behind first place in the East.

The Houston Rockets are tied for seventh in the Western Conference with the Sacramento Kings. With a win, they would wrest seventh place position from the Kings and become tied with the Portland Trail Blazers for sixth in the West.

Questions to answer

Can the Celtics stop the Rockets at the rim?

Where will the offence come from for Houston?

We are going to compare the Boston Celtics and the Houston Rockets in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

The Celtics Aren’t Stout in the Paint

While the Boston Celtics are a strong defensive team, they don’t boast the talent that strikes fear in teams when they enter the paint. The Celtics rank sixteenth in the NBA in blocks with 5.3 per game and tenth in the NBA in two-point field-goal percentage allowed at 51%.

With center Aron Baynes out of the lineup, the Celtics lost their most capable presence in the paint. Al Horford, despite his defensive prowess, just does not have the stature to compete with the athleticism of today’s NBA players at the rim.

Should the Rockets struggle to shoot the ball, their pick and roll game should hypothetically be successful due to the Celtics lack of size inside. Should the pick and roll be the primary method of attack, expect the Celtics to drop deep in order to protect the paint.

The Rockets are Last in Bench Points

The Houston Rockets have been struggling all season when it comes to producing outside of their starting lineup. Once a bench gunner, Eric Gordon’s cold streak has forced him into the starting lineup in an attempt to up his production and efficiency.

At last in the league, the Houston Rockets average 27 bench points per game. To say the Rockets starters produce the majority of their offence is an understatement.

The addition of Austin Rivers is surely an attempt to shore up the Rockets scoring punch. But with only a game of experience with the squad, it’ll take a team effort if the Rockets hope to have a chance against the Celtics without Paul and Harden.

Boston Celtics Roster Notes

C Aron Baynes (hand) will be reevaluated in 3-4 weeks and is targeting an MLK Day return.

Houston Rockets Roster Notes

G James Harden (calf) is listed as questionable for the match against the Boston Celtics.

G Chris Paul (hamstring) is out indefinitely and will be reevaluated in the new year.

G-F James Ennis (hamstring) remains out for Thursdays match against the Boston Celtics.

F Carmelo Anthony (rest) is not with the Houston Rockets.

Head-to-Head: vs

Kyrie Irving

23.3 PPG | 6.3 APG | 5.1 RPG | 1.6 SPG | 0.5 BPG | 2.3 TOV | .486 FG% | .413 3P%

James Harden

32.3 PPG | 8.4 APG | 5.7 RPG | 2.1 SPG | 0.5 BPG | 5.3 TOV | .445 FG% | .376 3P%

Between James Harden and Kyrie Irving, this will be a matchup between two of the most prolific scoring guards in todays NBA. Shooting, handling, finishing, both of these players have it all offensively, but leave much to be desired on the defensive end.

James Harden is currently struggling with a calf injury. In fact, with the current injured list on the Rockets, it is likely the Rockets will be conservative with Harden’s playing time. Possibly even by keeping him out. Regardless, Harden is the motor of the Rockets offensive engine and his playmaking will be key to the Rockets success.

Kyrie Irving is coming off of an incredibly impressive match on Christmas Day against the Philadelphia 76ers. In an overtime win against the Philadelphia 76ers, Irving dropped 40 points and 10 rebounds on 52% shooting while converting on 50% of his three-pointers. Kyrie Irving has the ability to carry a team on his back. Irving is in rhythm and if the Rockets can’t stifle him early, it’ll be a quick night for the Celtics.

Boston Celtics at Houston Rockets Predictions and Odds

The odds makers have the Boston Celtics favoured over the Houston Rockets by 1, with an over/under of 110.