Monday, December 5, 2022
Eagle Eye Sports Monitor

Preview: Houston Rockets (1-15) at Boston Celtics (9-8)

Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics look to stay unbeaten on their homestand Monday night when the Houston Rockets come to town.

Boston earned victories over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday in the first two of four successive games at home.

Most recently, Tatum finished with 33 points — his third consecutive 30-plus scoring performance — as the Celtics held off the Thunder, 111-105. Boston led by as many as 25 points before allowing Oklahoma City to get within four late in the fourth quarter.

“I think we got a little sloppy, took our foot off the gas a little bit,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka said. “The things we did well in the first half specifically we got a little sloppy with in the second half.”

Dennis Schroder added 29 points and Al Horford posted 10 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. Boston shot 46.6 percent from the floor (41-of-88) and 43.6 percent from 3-point range (17-of-39) while dishing out 28 assists.

It was the Celtics’ seventh victory in their last 10 games following a 2-5 start.

“I think we’re starting to understand what we need to do offensively and how we need to play,” Horford said. “It’s nice to see that starting to come together.”

Boston was without All-Star forward Jaylen Brown for an eighth straight game as he recovers from a right hamstring strain. Center Robert Williams III also sat out with left knee tendinopathy.

Both Brown and Williams were questionable to play against the Thunder and could return against the Rockets.

Houston is reeling, having lost 14 consecutive games entering Monday’s contest. The Rockets’ league-worst skid began with a 107-97 home loss to Boston on Oct. 24 after the team split its first two games of the season.

On Saturday, Christian Wood’s double-double of 18 points and 12 rebounds wasn’t enough to spark the Rockets in a 106-96 loss at the New York Knicks. Houston led for much of the fourth before the Knicks closed with a 22-10 run.

“That’s just a team learning, growing and fighting to the point where we got to five minutes and we had an opportunity,” Houston coach Stephen Silas said. “It hasn’t been like that. So I’m proud of our guys — we’ve just got to finish.”

Houston had six players in double figures as Jalen Green scored 16 points, Eric Gordon added 15, and Jae’Sean Tate had 11 with 10 boards.

The Rockets shot 45.2 percent from the field (38-of-84) but committed 10 more turnovers than the Knicks, finishing with 22.

“We knew what could beat them, and I felt like we were playing hard,” Wood said. “Just it got away from us at the end.”

In the first matchup with Boston, the rookie Green had a season-best 30 points on 11-of-18 shooting to help the Rockets stay afloat in the 10-point defeat. Wood finished with 20 points and nine rebounds and Kevin Porter Jr. scored 15.

Tatum led all the Celtics with 31 while Schroder added 18 points and Horford totaled 17 with 10 boards.

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