The Boston Celtics try to notch their first win when they take on the Houston Rockets on Sunday night. The opening tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET at Toyota Center in Houston.
The Celtics have begun the season by dropping a pair of games, including a 32-point loss at home against the Toronto Raptors on Friday night. Boston also fell in double-overtime against the host New York Knicks in their opener on Wednesday.
Houston is coming off a win in its home opener on Friday night, 124-91 over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Boston fought hard in losing to New York in the opener, but getting outscored 64-36 in the second half in Friday’s home game left many of the team’s faithful fans booing the team.
“The people in Boston know basketball,” Boston guard Josh Richardson said after Friday’s loss. “They were being honest.”
Now the team hits the road for a back-to-back, with a game with Charlotte on tap on Monday night. It might be good to get away to get things right before playing in front of the Boston fans again.
One player who needs to play better is Jaylen Brown, who followed up his career-best 46-point performance in the loss to the Knicks with just nine points against Toronto. Brown was 3-for-13 from the field, including 0-of-7 from 3-point range, and must be better if the Celtics are going to piece together some wins.
Forward Jayson Tatum is averaging 19.0 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 4.0 assists. The 23-year-old had career-high numbers in all three of those stats a season ago, and the assumption was he would continue his ascension to superstardom this season.
The last time the Rockets won two straight games, they improved to 10-9 in the 2020-21 campaign. Houston then lost 46 of its next 53 games to finish with the worst record in the league at 17-55. While they would like that second straight win in this one, they’d like to avoid the losing that followed.
Health will be a big issue for the Rockets, who are missing guard John Wall as the team tries to work out a trade for the former All-Star. Kevin Porter Jr. is set to fill Wall’s role as a scorer/playmaker going forward, and he’s had mixed reviews so far. Porter is averaging 14.5 points and 6.5 assists so far, but he’s also turning the ball over 5.5 turnovers per contest, though much of that was in the opening loss to Minnesota.
Center Christian Wood has been solid to start 2021-22, averaging 23.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks, but his health is always a concern. Wood played in just 41 games a season ago, his first with the Rockets.
Guard Eric Gordon has been a spark off the bench in the early going, ranking second on the team with 18.5 points per game and hitting 70 percent of his 3-point attempts. As rookie guard Jalen Green gets more comfortable with the pro game, the Rockets could have one of the more explosive scoring backcourts in the league.
Celtics Earn Win
Boston is too good to start 0-3, and the Celtics are going to be motivated to play better after Friday’s ugly second half. Houston is young and talented, but it won’t have the defense to stop Tatum and Brown, who should break out of the mini-slumps in this one.
When doing your NBA betting, take Boston to win and cover on the road.