Opening Up The Files On The Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics: Preview of Game 69 vs Rockets

The Boston Celtics travel to Houston to take on the Rockets at the Toyota Center on Monday. It’ll mark the second game of a six-game road trip for the Celtics, who look to climb back up to the top spot in the Eastern Conference by the end of it.

The Celtics are 21-12 in road games this season, while the Rockets are 9-24 at home this season and searching to break their current three-game losing skid. What should we expect from this matchup?

Firstly, don’t be surprised to see a load management day for Boston. Considering the opponent and the upcoming schedule for the Celtics, it’s not a bad idea to utilize this day for rest. Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, and even Al Horford all fall into this window.

This would be a good opportunity for head coach Joe Mazzulla to truly flex his team’s flexibility and overall versatility that we’ve seen from time to time this season, most recently against the Milwaukee Bucks, where a team of reserves carried the Celtics to overtime against the Bucks.

The Celtics are holding opponents to 112.8 points per game on 46.9 percent shooting while on the road this season. The Rockets average 110.1 points per game on 45.8 percent shooting from the field at home this season, which is under Boston’s season average of opponents points per game this season.

This game is also a great opportunity to perhaps play with the lineup and rotations a bit more than usual. Mazzulla has been strict about not playing Grant Williams as much and has leaned on Blake Griffin more often than not over the past week’s games. We also haven’t seen much of Mike Muscalla or Luke Kornet lately, so maybe we’ll see them get some runs in this game if the C’s do decide to rest some essential players.

People wonder why Mazzulla is doing what he’s doing with the lineups, and I’m one of them at times. But I understand that he wants to see the results of inputting players in different situations to be better prepared and have no-hesitation alternatives to pull out of his back pocket. This is the game to mess with variables like that.

I’d expect to see a somewhat unorthodox lineup against the Rockets on Monday.

Also on this two-week road trip, the Celtics travel to Minnesota, and then have a back-to-back in Portland to Utah before ending in Sacramento. 

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Photo Credit: Brian Babineau, NBAE Getty Images


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