The Houston Rockets were finally beginning to get healthy again after a brutal stretch through the first half of the season in which their roster was depleted. At various points, the team was without Chris Paul, Clint Capela, Eric Gordon and multiple others. To make matters worse, two or three of the injured players were often out at the same time also. But for Sunday’s matchup with the Boston Celtics, there’s some positive news that’s come to light.
After both Gordon and forward Kenneth Faried missed last game against the Miami Heat, the two players look primed to be back in action. As Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle revealed, Gordon is back and will actually be in the starting lineup regardless of Faried’s status.
Feigen also cited that Faried is listed as probable for the game against the Celtics due to a hip injury. Unfortunately, it’s not all good news, as Iman Shumpert (calf) will remain sidelined and Gerald Green is sick so he may miss this game also.
With that said, we’re going to take a look at the latest updates on the Rockets roster and projected starting lineup against the Celtics.
Rockets Roster & Starting Lineup vs. Celtics
*Notates projected starter
C: Clint Capela*, Nene Hilario, Terrence Jones
PF: P.J. Tucker*, Kenneth Faried, Gary Clark
SF: Eric Gordon*, Gerald Green (Q), Vincent Edwards
SG: James Harden*
PG: Chris Paul*, Austin Rivers
Prior to the game against the Heat, head coach Mike D’Antoni opted to start Faried over Gordon in two of the three games prior. The two starts for the 29-year-old forward came against the Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks, both of which were victories. But in the third game, D’Antoni shifted back to starting Gordon against the Charlotte Hornets and Faried left that game after eight minutes due to injury.
Faried was signed by the Rockets after being bought out by the Brooklyn Nets, and he logged big minutes early. In the 12 games prior to the All-Star break, he played 30 or more minutes in nine. Two of the other three came after he was first signed by the team and the only other time he fell below that mark was due to foul trouble. Faried fouled out in 20 minutes of a blowout win over the Utah Jazz on February 2.
Rockets Back to Winning Ways
After a tough stretch in which the Rockets dropped two straight and three of four dating back to before the All-Star break, they turned a corner once again recently. Their victory over the Warriors sparked a four-game winning streak and has helped them hold firm in the standings. Beyond that, it’s also left Houston within striking distance of home-court advantage in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
As things currently stand, the Rockets are 6.5 games back of the top-seeded Warriors and sit with a record of 37-25 in the Western Conference’s No. 5 spot. But thanks to their own play and some slip-ups from the Oklahoma City Thunder and Portland Trail Blazers, their outlook has improved. The Rockets are now just one game back of both the Thunder and Blazers, with the potential to move up to No. 3 or 4 down the final stretch of the season.