James Harden and the red-hot Houston Rockets will head to Boston for a showdown with the Celtics on Sunday afternoon. Harden is coming off of another 50-point performance in his last game, but he will face a tough defense in this game. The Celtics have been up and down for much of the season, and they need to get going if they are going to win the Eastern Conference. Houston earned a 127-113 victory over the Celtics earlier this season.
The Rockets have won four straight games and are climbing up the standings in the Western Conference. Houston holds a 3.5 game lead over the San Antonio Spurs in the Southwest Division and is looking like the team that made it to the Western Conference Finals a season ago. Boston has slipped into the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference with a 38-25 record. The Celtics snapped a four-game losing streak with a win against the Wizards in their last game. Boston is -3.0 over the Rockets on Sunday afternoon.
Harden Dominating Ball, Opponents This Season
Watching the Houston Rockets play can be boring at times as you will likely watch the ball stay in James Harden’s hands for an entire possession. Harden continues to prove that he is the best offensive player in the league, averaging 36.6 points per game this season. The reigning Most Valuable Player attempts close to 14 three-point shots per game, and you can expect the Celtics to have a game plan ready to stop him. The Rockets are averaging 113.4 points per game on offense, but Harden definitely leads the way.
Another reason for the Rockets recent four-game winning streak has been the return of center Clint Capela. Houston struggled on both ends of the floor without their big man, who is putting up huge numbers this season. Capela is averaging 17.0 points, 12.6 rebounds, and also anchors the Rockets defense with close to 2 blocks per game. The Rockets have a ton of other talent as well, and if they can stay healthy will be the biggest challenger to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference.
Celtics Can’t Figure Things Out
The Boston Celtics have all of the pieces that they need to reach the NBA Finals, but they look like a team that might lose in the first round. The Celtics are still one of the best defensive teams in the league, allowing just 106.6 points per game, but their offense is a mess at times. Head coach Brad Stevens plays a lot of players, and the Celtics have eight different players averaging at least 23 minutes per game. Boston is hoping that center Aron Baynes will make his return to the floor on Sunday, and they will need him to try to contain Capela.
Point guard Kyrie Irving is the clear leader of the Boston offense but has brought plenty of drama and attention to himself off of the court. Irving leads the Celtics with 23.4 points and 6.9 assists per game this season but needs to rely on his teammates more. Forward Jayson Tatum is one of the rising stars in the league and has chipped in with 16.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game this season. The Celtics have plenty of talent, but chemistry has been an issue in Boston.
Celtics Earn Impressive Win
At some point, the Boston Celtics are going to figure things out. The Celtics just have too much talent, and they have been a tough team to beat at home this season. Harden won’t be able to beat the Celtics by himself, but you can expect him to try. Look for the Celtics to earn an impressive home win over the Rockets. Bet the Celtics -3.0 in this game.