Tip: 7:30 PM Court: TD Garden Watch it: CSN Hear it: WEEI
Referees: Rodney Mott, Matt Boland, Haywoode Workman
Rockets swept the series last year 2-0. Ray Allen recorded 13.5 points per game against Houston while Jeff Green added 17 points off the bench in his only game for the Celtics against Houston. Kevin Martin recorded 25 points in his only game against the Celtics last season while Kyle Lowry averaged 18.5 points to go along with 8.5 assists.
Get it to: Paul Pierce
Even if it's part of another Rondo triple double, you have to get Paul Pierce going. I'm thinking Chandler Parsons can't lock Pierce down… so go after the kid and let Paul Pierce haunt his nightmares.
Gotta stop: Kyle Lowry
Kevin Martin is going to take (and miss) a lot of shots… so as long as the Celtics hold him to his average. Luis Scola is going to be a handful, for sure. But it's Lowry that's the biggest threat at the point. He's a candidate for most improved player, and he's got the highest player efficiency rating on the team (20.0). In fact, the only player in this game with a higher PER is Kevin Garnett (20.4). Limit Lowry, and you're limiting a large part of the Rockets offense. For Rondo, that means bucking a bad trend.
The Wild Card: Samuel Dalembert
I was torn between Dalembert and Scola. The tie-breaker for me is Dalembert's height and shot blocking ability. I'm afraid the thread of the shot blocker will have a ripple effect on the Celtics, causing them to rely on mid-range jumpers rather than attack.
How we see it goin' down
The Celtics need to attack a shot blocker, risk getting rejected a few times, and try to get Dalembert into foul trouble.
Unfortunately, I'm seeing too many things not working in the C's favor. They don't typically attack shot blockers. Lowry has been a problem for Rondo in the past. And the possibility of playing Philly tomorrow night for the division lead makes me afraid the C's will look past the Rockets.
As much as I hope I'm wrong, I see the C's getting too sloppy for their own good this time around and Dalembert will force the C's to settle for jumpers. I see the Rockets taking this one, 89-84.