WHO: Celtics (23-25) vs. Mavericks (13-34)
WHEN: 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: TD Garden
RADIO: 98.5 The Sports Hub
TV: NBC Sports Boston
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS
G: Kemba Walker
G: Marcus Smart
SF: Jaylen Brown
PF: Jayson Tatum
C: Robert Williams III
G: Kevin Porter
G: Danuel House
SF: Sterling Brown
PF: Jae’Sean Tate
C: Christian Wood
The Boston Celtics (23-25, 22-26 ATS) look for their first win of the home stand against the tanking Houston Rockets (13-42, 15-32 ATS) after losing two straight games in which they were favorited.
Romeo Langford (COVID protocols), Semi Ojeleye (side) and Tristan Thompson (COVID protocols) remain out for Boston.
The Rockets will be without Eric Gordon (groin) and Dante Exum (calf), with John Wall (knee) and David Nwaba (wrist) questionable.
According to the online sports book Betonline.ag, the Celtics are 11.5 point favorites.
- Celtics vs. Rockets spread: Celtics -11.5
- Celtics vs. Rockets over-under: 223 points
- Celtics vs. Rockets money line: Celtics -750, Rockets +550
This Houston team is bad, so bad that the Celtics were able to blow them out 134-107 in mid-March as Boston slid through their worst month of the season. Houston has since traded Victor Oladipo, who led the team in scoring that night, but added Kelly Olynyk, who has played well, and old friend Avery Bradley, with Christian Wood back from injury. Kevin Porter, a midseason addition, has taken over as the lead scoring guard for the team.
That means the Rockets have added pieces that can hurt Boston’s laboring defense. Several players on Houston may miss tonight’s game, but Porter and Wood in particular can run a two-man game that gets to the rim and attacks Boston’s interior. Houston, however, is the least accurate (33%) three-point shooting team in the league despite attempting the fourth-most.
They do limit opposing free throws and limit them from getting to the rim though, two areas that can hurt Boston’s offense, which will need to carry the Celts if they continue to defend at a bottom-10 level as they have for one month.
The Celtics should win this game handily, with the Rockets entering absent of depth and a clear winning vision. Robert Williams III is slated to return to Boston’s starting lineup after posting 16 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks in the previous meeting on 7-of-7 shooting. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum shot better than 50% in the win, while the C’s unloaded 48% shooting from deep. Covering will prove difficult throughout given Boston’s recent inconsistency, but once enough of their shots fall they should be able to extend a significant lead.
Boston 128, Houston 118 (22–19, 17-21 ATS)