Boston Celtics vs. Houston Rockets Preview and Pick – Point Spread – Betting Odds

Boston Celtics (43-24 SU 26-39-2 ATS) vs. Houston Rockets (35-21 SU 31-35 ATS) Toyota Center, Houston, TX 8:30 PM EST Friday March 19, 2010 on NBA TV
by Jason Green at

Point Spread: Celtics -2 / Rockets +2
Over/Under: 203

Tonight in a non-conference game in the Lone Star State the Houston Rockets host the Boston Celtics. The Rockets have won 4 games in a row and they really need to keep winning to have any chance at making the playoffs, as they trail the Portland Trailblazers by 4.5 games for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

The Celtics have won 2 in a row, are 7-3 in their last 10 games, and are tied with Atlanta for the 3rd spot in the Eastern Conference. Boston and Atlanta will likely not catch 2nd place Orlando or fall out of the 3rd or 4th spot in the East and the Celtics really want to overtake the Hawks and finish the season as the 3rd seed so they do not have to face Cleveland in the 1st round of the post season.

This season Houston is 20-14 at home and Boston is 22-12 on the road.

The reason the Celtics have won 2 straight is their defense and their team play. The Celtics have one of the best defensive teams in the league and in their last 2 games Boston has a total of 62 assists.

Boston’s defense will be tested tonight, as the Rockets have a solid offensive team led by their backcourt of Kevin Martin (21 ppg) and Aaron Brooks (20.1 ppg). The Celtics need to keep Brooks from firing away from deep and in Houston’s last game he was 7/7 from beyond the 3-point arc.

The Celtics not only have ot play solid perimeter defense, but also play well on Rockets’ PF Luis Scola (15.7 ppg), who is averaging is averaging 25.8 ppg on 57.3% shooting in his last 6 games.

Houston has to win this game on offense since they are not a good defensive team. One of their main weaknesses is their perimeter defense, which is allowing opponents to hit on 35.4% of their 3 pointers this season. They have to get in the face of Paul Pierce (17.7 ppg) or Ray Allen (16.1 ppg) and not allow them to have open looks from deep.

The Celtics have a better road record this season than at home and Houston is 4 games under .500 against teams in the Eastern Conference.

In their last game the Celtics beat the New York Knicks 109-97 on Wednesday night. The high scorer for Boston in the game was Paul Pierce going for 29 points on 11/17 shooting. For the game the Celtics shot well going 42/83 for a FG% of 50.6%. On defense the Celtics held the Kicks to 36/87 from the floor for a FG% of 41.4%.

The Rockets also won their last game on Wednesday night beating the Memphis Grizzlies 107-94. The high scorer for Houston in the game was Aaron Brooks going for 31 points on 11/14 shooting. For the game the Rockets shot lights out going 39/73 for a FG% of 53.4%. On D the Rockets allowed the Griz to shoot 39/91 for a FG% of 42.9%.

This season the Rockets rank 11th in scoring (101.9 ppg) and the Celtics rank 19th (98.4 ppg). The Celtics rank 2nd in opponents’ points allowed (94.3 ppg) while the Rockets only rank 20th (101.5 ppg). Both teams have been pretty even on the boards this season with the Rockets at -0.1 rpg and the Celtics at -1.1 rpg.

According to the Sagarin NBA ratings the Celtics rank 7th (93.60) and the Rockets rank 15th (90.93).

Boston is 7-0 ATS in their last 7 games as a road favorite of 0.5-4.5, 5-12 ATS in their last 17 games following a ATS win, and 2-5-1 ATS in their last 8 road games against teams with a winning home record.

Boston has an Over record of 4-1 in their last 5 games, an Under record of 5-1 in their last 6 games as a road favorite, and has an Under record of 7-3 in their last 10 road games.

Houston is 5-14 ATS in their last 19 home games, is 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games as a home underdog, and is 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games against teams with a winning percentage above 60%.

Boston has an Over record of 5-2 in their last 7 games following a ATS win and an Under record of 5-1 in their last 6 home games against teams with a winning road record.

On the injury front SF Paul Pierce is day-to-day for Boston and PG Kyle Lowry is day-to-day for Houston.

Jason’s Pick: The best angle a capper can factor into his handicapping is a team that is HOT. And Houston is just that. Take the Rockets to cover the spread.