ESPN’s FPI gives Houston a 55.1% chance of winning this game. We break down the line and offer our best bets and analysis for Tuesday’s matchup between the Celtics and Rockets.
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Celtics vs. Rockets Game Details
Date: Tuesday, February 11
Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
Location: Toyota Center (Houston, Texas)
Spread: Rockets -2.5
- C Robert Williams III (hip) out
- SG Jaylen Brown (ankle) questionable
- SG Eric Gordon (lower leg) out
- Celtics are 37-15 SU and 31-19-2 ATS this season
- Rockets are 33-20 SU and 25-28 ATS this season
- Under is 29-23 in Celtics games this season
- Under is 30-23 in Rockets games this season
Russell Westbrook has been the most consistent scorer for Houston of late and is averaging 35.7 points on 52.0 percent shooting over his last seven games. Westbrook has cracked the 30-point mark while shooting 50-percent or better 10 times this season including eight times since the start of the new year.
The Rockets will continue to go small with their lineup and will not start a player taller than 6-foot-7. The extra space in the paint has allowed Westbrook room to get to the basket, which has resulted in a more efficient shot selection. Westbrook has attempted just 14 3-pointers over his last 10 games. He is a good bet to exceed the 30-point mark for the seventh time in eight games as Boston’s defense will likely be keying in on James Harden.
PICK: Russell Westbrook Over 29.5 Points
This is a classic matchup of offense vs. defense. The Rockets are 2nd in the NBA in scoring offense (118.2 ppg) while the Celtics are 2nd in scoring defense (105.5 ppg). Shutting down James Harden is the key to halting Houston. The Rockets are just 8-12 this season when Harden fails to score at least 34 points and 16-2 when he reaches the 40-point plateau.
Jayson Tatum recorded his seventh double-double of the season in Sunday’s dramatic 113-112 road victory over the Thunder with 26 points and 11 rebounds. Tatum has emerged as one of the best all-around players in the league and will be making his first All-Star appearance this weekend. Harden shot just 2-of-13 from 3-point range in Sunday’s last-second loss to the Jazz but did record a triple-double with 28 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists.
The Rockets won both meetings against the Celtics last season by an average margin of 12.5 points. These two teams will meet again in Boston on Feb. 29. This will be Houston’s final game before the All-Star break. Boston’s depth has been a strength this season, with Tatum flanked by fellow all-star Kemba Walker. With another small lineup expected for Houston, center Daniel Theis should thrive in the paint. Theis held Thunder center Steven Adams to just four points on 2-of-10 shooting on Sunday.
PICK: Celtics +2.5
Follow Jared Smith on Twitter: @jaredleesmith