Dec 2, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Will Barton (5) guards Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) in the second quarter at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
After a successful West Coast Road Trip, the Houston Rockets (13-7) are returning home to take on Isaiah Thomas and the Boston Celtics (12-8).
After spending the past two weeks on the road, the Rockets are finally heading home. Despite playing a league-high 14 road games in the first quarter of the season, the Rockets are returning to Houston with serious momentum. The Toyota Center awaits their arrival as they prepare to take on the Boston Celtics.
The Rockets ended their road trip with an astonishing 4-1 record, which included a win over the reigning Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors. During their most recent run, the Rockets may have established themselves as the top offensive team in the league.
They averaged 121.6 during their five-game road trip, as well as establishing themselves as the NBA’s most lethal 3-point shooting team.
Entering Monday night’s game, Houston ranked first in 3-point field goals made with 14.0 per game and fifth in 3-point field goal percentage with 37.8%. On an individual standpoint, the Rockets have five players ranked among the top 10 in NBA 3-pointers made: Eric Gordon (63), James Harden (58), Trevor Ariza (56), and Ryan Anderson (54).
For a team who just expanded the NBA record for most consecutive games with a least 10 3-pointers made to 19. Do you expect anything less?
However, for a team whose success relies heavily on their 3-point shot, the Rockets may have to change their game plan against the Celtics.
Nov 30, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas (4) drives past Detroit Pistons forward Tobias Harris (34) during the fourth quarter at TD Garden. The Detroit Pistons won 121-114. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Boston Celtics Pre-Game Report
Following a nail-biting victory over the Philadelphia 76ers, the Celtics have been on a little run of their own. They won six of their last eight games and are quickly becoming the team many predicted prior to the start of the season.
The Celtics are one of the best perimeter defenders in the league. As of Monday, they rank fifth in the league, holding their opponents 3-point percentage to 34.0 % percent.
The one player the Rockets will need a defensive plan for is Isaiah Thomas. Sure, Al Horford is always a tough match-up for opponents, but the Celtics will only go as far as the 5’9 point guard can take them.
Thomas is having a career year across the board. He ranks ninth in the league in scoring (26.3 points) and averaging 6.4 assists, but outside the top 20 in average minutes played. The Rockets could use signature defender Patrick Beverley, although Thomas’s quickness may cause a huge problem for Beverley.
Against one of the best defensive teams in the league, the Rockets may see their 3-point record come to an end Monday night. However, Houston should still be able to come away with a win. The Celtics may not have enough offense power to keep up with the Rockets.
Dec 2, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Houston Rockets forward Sam Dekker (7) dunks the ball against Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried (35) and forward Wilson Chandler (21) and guard Emmanuel Mudiay (0) in the fourth quarter at the Pepsi Center. The Rockets won 128-110. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Where to watch– NBA TV, Roots Sports, CSN New England
Tip Off– Monday, December 5th, 7:30 CST
Projected Starting Lineups:
Point Guard- James Harden
Shooting Guard- Patrick Beverley
Center- Clint Capella
Power Forward-Ryan Anderson
Small Forward- Trevor Ariza-seems to be questionable for tonight’s game w/ back spasms. GTD. Dekker/K.J. McDaniels may get extra run if the Rockets “Iron Man” can’t go.
111.4 Points Per Game (2nd), 43.9 Rebounds Per Game (15th), 24.3 Assists Per Game (4th), Points Allowed 107.5 (24th)
Point Guard- Isaiah Thomas
Shooting Guard- Avery Bradley
Small Forward Jae Crowder
Power Forward- Al Horford
Center- Amir Johnson
104.7 Points Per Game (14th), 42.0 Rebounds Per Game (26th), 24.4 Assists Per Game (2nd), Points Allowed 103.9 (14th)