Boston Celtics +2 (2-1) at Houston Rockets -2 (3-0) O/U 178 8:30 PM ET Tuesday November 4, 2008 on NBA TV
By Jason Green at Predictem.com
Tonight the defending champion Boston Celtics travel to Houston to play the undefeated Rockets. Boston suffered their first defeat of the season in their last game. This match may be a finals preview, as the Celtics are favored to win the Eastern Conference again and the off-season acquisition of Ron Artest may be the piece that the Rockets have been missing in the last few years.
Basketball bookies are listing the Rockets as 2 point favorites with a total around 178 points. The Rockets are posted at -180 as home favorites while the Celtics are listed as +210 as away dogs.
The Celtics come into this game after losing to Indiana Pacers 95-79 on Saturday night. In that game Kevin Garnett was the high scorer with 18 points on 9/18 shooting. The other 2 of the Big 3 of Paul Pierce and Ray Allen didn’t help Garnett at all, as they combined for 25 points on only 7/25 shooting. That aint gonna get it done against any team. In the game the Celtics were laying bricks all night long shooting 27/78 for a FG% of only 34.6%. Beyond the arc the Celtics were only 4-20 from downtown. On defense the Celtics allowed the Pacers to shoot 33/81 for a FG% of 40.7%. The Celtics also had 24 turnovers in the game. The Rockets stayed undefeated with a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night 89-77. In that game the high scorer for the Rockets was Tracy McGrady who went for 22 points on 6/15 shooting. In that game every Rockets starter scored in double digits. The Rockets did not shoot the rock in the game going 28/77 for a FG% of only 36.4%. On defense the Rockets allowed the Thunder to shoot 34/85 for a FG% of 40%. The reason the Rockets won is that they dominated the boards, 49 to 39, and also had 10 offensive rebounds.
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These are 2 of the lower scoring teams in the league, as the Rockets rank 20th in scoring (94.3 ppg) and the Celtics rank 27th (88.3 ppg). Even with the stars that each team has they are both shooting poorly, as the Rockets have a FG% of 40.52% while the Celtics are not much better at 40.89%. The reason both these teams are wining is their defense. Houston ranks 1st in point allowed (83.3 ppg) while the Celtics rank 5th (86.7 ppg).
This season the Celtics are 1-2 against the spread while the Rockets are 1-1 and in terms of Over/Under the Celtics are 0-3 and the Rockets are 1-1.
On the injury front SF Shane Battier is out for the Rockets while the Celtics are fully healthy.
The Rockets look to improve to 4-0 for the first time in over a decade, but the last time Boston came to Houston the Celtics ended the Rockets 22 game winning streak.
The Rockets have to play good perimeter defense, as the Celtics are much better from beyond the arc, but if the Celtics shoot like they did in their last game the Rockets will blow them out.
This game features the Big 3 of the Celtics in Garnett, Pierce, and Allen against the new Big 3 of McGrady, Ming, and Artest.
The key in this game will be which team can shoot the rock. Both teams have guys that can score, but neither shot the pill well in their last game.
One of the main guys in this game is Celtics PG Rajon Rondo. If he can penetrate the tough Houston D and kick the ball out to sharpshooters Pierce and Allen, they will be in good shape. The Celtics have to play some tough D against Artest and McGrady.
Celtics C Kendrick Perkins will have to step up and play some D against Yao Ming. Perkins is a tough defender in the paint, but Ming will take him outside since he can shoot the mid range jumper.
Look for a low scoring game with 2 of the best defenses in the NBA. The game could be ugly and not see a lot of scoring. I mean an NBA game where the bookies are listing the total as around 178? The Rockets can really prove they are legit if they win tonight against the defending champs.