Houston vs Boston NBA Hoops Handicapping
The Boston Celtics return home on Monday night after a five-game road trip losing skid, and will look to halt an eight-game slid when they host the surging Houston Rockets. [ad-4468020]
Date/Time: 7:30 PM ET, Monday, Jan.13, 2014
Venue: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Spread: +5.5 Boston
Houston (24-14) has won three of its last four games, including a 114-107 road win over the Washington Wizards on Saturday to improve to .500 away from home and now are sixth place in the Western Conference.
The Rockets are slowly becoming a real playoff threat as center Dwight Howard has finally found his groove, alongside star guard James Harden who is averaging 32.6 points over the last five games, including two outings of 38 points and another of 37.
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But perhaps the Rockets biggest surprise of the season for the Rockets is second-year forward Terrence Jones, who has stepped up to provide a much-needed boost in the frontcourt.
After getting more playing time in place if Omer Asik, Jones has led to four double-doubles over the past nine games. He had 19 points and a career-high 17 rebounds against the Wizards last time out.
He also did very well against Boston the last time he faced them, pouring in a career-best 24 points while grabbing nine rebounds.
Meanwhile, the Celtics have won just one of 12 games recently, and have slipped to the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
First-year coach Brad Stevens’ team is just 3-13 against Western Conference opponents and will have its hands full on Monday.
Boston (13-25) has struggled just about everywhere on the court, but forward Jared Sullinger has shown a few little signs of breaking out of his slump by averaging 17.5 points and 10.5 rebounds with back-to-back double-doubles over the past two games.
Because of Sullingers questionable play up to a few games ago, second-year pro Kris Humphries has been receiving more playing time, and is averaging 13.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.
The Rockets have won five of the last seven meetings versus the Celtics, including an impressive 109-85 victory on Nov. 19.
Houston will get a little more help from the return of forward Chandler Parsons, who is expected to start on Monday after missing three straight games.
I expect the Rockets to grab a win on the road in this one.
Rockets 113, Celtics 101