Boston Celtics Expectations Should be Lowered against Houston Rockets

Boston travels to take on the top team in the Western Conference. Should Celtics fans be optimistic about this marquee matchup?

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Four games have resulted in four wins for the Boston Celtics since the All-Star Break.

Now, the Celtics have their toughest matchup before the playoffs against the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed: the Houston Rockets.

Seeing the way Boston has played the last week may give some people reason to believe that the Celtics can come away with their second win of the season against Houston. Not only are they riding a four-game win streak, but also because they are playing some of their best offensive basketball this year.

The guys off the bench are proving to create some offensive stability for the team; Aron Baynes is finding out how to consistently hit a jump shot, and rookie Daniel Theis is finally getting the minutes he deserves.

But, should this really give us reason to believe the Celtics will walk out of the Toyota Center Saturday night with a win?

I don’t think so, and here’s why:

Cake Walk Since the All-Star Break

Let’s first take a look at the standings for the Eastern and Western Conferences:

http://www.espn.com/nba/standings
http://www.espn.com/nba/standings

Do you see what I see?

I see the Pistons sitting in ninth, Knicks at 11, Grizzlies at 14 and Hornets at 10. None of those teams have a winning record. The Pistons are the only team I view as a legitimate playoff contender. The Knicks and Grizzlies don’t have a glimmer of hope of seeing the postseason, and the Hornets could make a late push, but most likely won’t make it past the first round if they do end up making it.

What is the point I’m trying to make?

In the nicest way possible, I’m just trying to say: the Pistons, Knicks, Grizzlies and Hornets just aren’t that good.

The Celtics did what they were supposed to against Detroit, which relies on two men to score points in the paint and aren’t a very 3-point savvy team. They then beat a Knicks team whose best player, Kristaps Porzingis, has been lost for the season for quite some time now. They beat a Grizzlies squad whose only concern is which lottery pick they can grab in this year’s draft.

Along with that, the Celtics scored their highest point total this season and shot their best field-goal percentage (62 percent) in the Brad Stevens era against Charlotte Wednesday night. Boston had seven players notch double-digit scoring efforts, and managed to make Dwight Howard, who is one of the best rebounders in the league, irrelevant. He grabbed just three boards against Baynes, who has proven to be the best defender at his position.

I know what you’re thinking; aren’t I supposed to be giving you reasons why the Celtics should be worried about the Rockets?

Not to worry, I am.

Brad Stevens said it himself, “you better win when you’re shooting it like that.”

OK, OK. I’ll get to my point.

You should not expect to see that kind of performance from Boston for the rest of the season. There is a reason why 134 points is the Celtics’ highest scoring output of the season, and their field-goal percentage from Tuesday night was their highest since 2013.

Because it does not happen very often, or even a little often. So you shouldn’t expect the parade of made shots from everywhere on the floor from every player to continue to happen.

Sorry if I ruined your mood.

Houston Rockets May Be Best…Ever.

https://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/tiny.fcgi?id=T5FWI

The chart above shows the teams with the best offensive ratings of all-time, ranging from the 80’s Lakers and Celtics teams, to last year’s Golden State Warriors squad.

Notice who’s at the very top? The 2017-18 Houston Rockets.

Do you know which team didn’t even break the top-100 on this list? The 2017-18 Celtics.

Yeah, yeah I get it. The Celtics are on a hot streak right now and are one of the best defensive teams in the NBA. Plus, anything can happen in the middle of the NBA regular season. But, who am I to bet against the best offensive team in NBA history?

This article is being written so you don’t get your heart crushed Saturday night when the Rockets walk away with their first win against Boston this year.

And let’s not forget back in December, when the two teams met for the first time this season, the Celtics had to overcome a 26-point deficit and make a last-second shot to beat Houston by a point. Their chances of winning that game were extremely low and it should be seen as more of a collapse by Houston than a win by Boston.

It seems based off of a poll I threw up on Twitter that a lot of you are hopping on the hype train down to Houston, and expect the Celtics to grab their 45th win this weekend:

 

So let me be the bearer of bad news for all of you.

The Celtics will not beat the Rockets.

Follow me on Twitter @CLNSDev for more news and info regarding the Boston Celtics.