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On Thursday, December 28th, the (25-6) Houston Rockets will be on the road to take on the (27-9) Boston Celtics.
“The Crowd” is projecting a final score of Rockets 104.9 – Celtics 104.2 with an over/under of 209.1.
Statistics (2017-18 season):
Point differential: Rockets +10.0 (1st) > Celtics +5.3 (4th)
Points per game: Rockets 115.4 (1st) > Celtics 103.5 (20th)
Points allowed per game: Celtics 98.2 (2nd) > Rockets 105.4 (15th)
Field Goal Percentage Offense: Rockets 46.9% (9th) > Celtics 45.1% (19th)
Three Point Percentage: Celtics 37.3% (9th) > Rockets 37.1% (11th)
Field Goal Percentage Defense: Celtics 43.9% (2nd) > Rockets 46.2% (16th)
Turnovers committed per game: Celtics 13.0 (4th) > Rockets 14.9 (20th)
Turnovers forced per game: Rockets 14.5 (11th) > Celtics 13.9 (19th)
Rebounds per game: Rockets 44.3 (11th) > Celtics 43.9 (13th)
Assists per game: Rockets 22.4 (16th) > Celtics 22.3 (18th)
The Celtics are (5-5) in their last ten games and (14-4) at home this season. Despite the devastating knee injury to Gordon Hayward the Celtics still sit firmly atop the Eastern Conference. Brad Stevens has his team top five defensively in a number of categories including opponent field goal percentage and points allowed. Kyrie Irving has been a scoring machine (24.9 PPG) but could do a better job distributing the ball (4.9 APG). Irving is on pace to shoot career highs from the field (49.2%) and from three (41.2%). Jaylen Brown (14.7 PPG) and Jayson Tatum (13.8 PPG) have come along quicker than many expected while Al Horford (13.8 PPG and 7.8 RPG) remains the glue that holds everything together. The Celtics average 103.5 points per game (20th) while allowing 98.2 (2nd).
Houston is (8-2) in their last ten games and (12-1) on the road this season. The Rockets lead the Western Conference and are the league’s highest scoring team. James Harden (32.5 PPG and 9.0 APG) is on a mission to be the league MVP. Harden leads the league in scoring and ranks third in assists. Chris Paul (17.1 PPG and 9.0 APG) has been sensational since returning from injury. The Rockets are 27th in bench scoring (16.2 PPG) but Eric Gordon (19.5 PPG) should help to solidify that unit since Paul is healthy. Clint Capela (14.0 PPG and 11.3 RPG) has been an unsung hero and leads the NBA in field goal percentage (69.4%). The Rockets average 115.4 points per game (1st) and allow 105.4 PPG (15th).
The Rockets are (3-2) in their last five head to head games against the Celtics. This is quite the interesting match-up with the high scoring Rockets facing off against an elite Celtics defensive team. Houston is (15-2) when Chris Paul plays and are clicking on all cylinders right now. The Rockets have been a road juggernaut this season and I expect them to win a close one.
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