Originally written on Celtics Green ...a boston celtics blog.  |  Last updated 12/14/12
   at  Boston Celtics (12-9) at Houston Rockets (10-11)Friday, December 14, 20128:00 PM ET Regular Season Game #22, Road Game #10TV: ESPN,  CSN-NE, CSN-HRadio:  WEEI, KBMEToyota Center Referees:   Tom Washington,  David Jones,  Haywoode Workman The Celtics begin their 3 game road trip in Houston where they take Linsanity and The Beard.   They also will face old friend and former Celtic,  Kevin McHale, who is back on the Rockets bench after missing over a month due to the death of his daughter. The Rockets are a decent home team with an 8-5 record at the Toyota Center.  The Celtics have slipped to 4-5 on the road.  Both teams are 6-4 in their last 10 games.  The Celtics, who are going for their second 3 game win streak of the season, have climbed past Philly for 3rd in the Atlantic and have the same 12-9 record as the Nets.   Both teams are 4 games behind the Knicks.  Houston is looking for their second straight win and are 4th in the Southwest division, 7 games behind the Spurs.  First, Jeff Green faced his former team,  then KG faced his former team, and in the last game, Jason Terry faced his former team.  Now, it's time for Courtney Lee to face his old team.  Lee has been struggling to find his role in the Celtics system and this would be a good time for a break out game from him.  The Celtics have a game in San Antonio on Saturday so they need to play smart and save some energy for the Spurs.  Hopefully the bench will come through and allow the starters to get some rest.  Probable Starting Matchups Point Guard   vs  Rajon Rondo vs Jeremy Lin Shooting Guard    vs  Jason Terry vs James Harden  Small Forward   vs  Paul Pierce vs Chandler Parsons    Power Forward   vs  Brandon Bass vs Patrick Patterson  Center   vs  Kevin Garnett vs Omer Asik   Bench   Jared Sullinger Jason Collins Courtney Lee Jeff Green Leandro Barbosa Chris Wilcox Injuries Avery Bradley (shoulders) out D-League Kris Joseph Fab Melo Bench Marcus Morris Greg Smith Terrence Jones Carlos Delfino Daequan Cook Toney Douglas Donatas Motiejunas Royce White Cole Aldrich Injured None D-League Scott Machado  Key Matchups   vs  Rajon Rondo vs Jeremy Lin  As Rondo goes, so go the Celtics.  The fact that Rondo played over 52 minutes in the Celtics 2OT win over the Mavs shows how important he is on the court.  The Celtics simply don't have a replacement for him.  The last time Rondo faced Lin in NY, he delighted in shutting him down.  I can see him doing the same thing in this game.    vs  Jason Terry vs James Harden James Harden is capable of putting up a lot of points and Jason Terry will need to work extra hard on defense to contain him.  At the same time, the Celtics need JET to get his shot back on track as they need his offense.    Honorable Mention Kevin Garnett vs Omer Asik Asik is a good defender and so KG will have to use his veteran wiles to get his shot off against him.  Asik won't put up a ton of points, but he is a double double threat and KG will need to try to keep him off the boards.  Keys to the Game Defense - The Celtics must keep their defensive mindset.    Defense wins games and it will win a championship.  The Celtics are beginning to come together defensively, and  that trend needs to continue as they now need to develop more consistency on that end.  They allowed Dallas to score 60 points in the paint.  They have to keep the Rockets from getting into the paint to score. Also, the Rockets are 3rd in the league in made threes and so the Celtics must defend on the perimeter as well.  Rebounding -  Rebounding is second to defense in importance in winning games.   The Celtics need to put out effort to crash the boards and prevent the Rockets second chance points and fast break opportunities which Lin and Harden will take full advantage of.   Rebounding is effort and desire and when they Celtics bring the effort on the boards, it spreads to the other areas of their game.    Be Aggressive -  Too many times  we see the Celtics get beat to loose balls and rebounds.  The Celtics have to be aggressive in going after loose balls, grabbing rebounds and taking the ball to the basket.  After the double OT game on Wednesday, their legs may tire quicker and if the jumpers aren't falling, they have to get into the paint.   The more aggressive team will get  more respect from the refs and they also take some steam out of the other team by attacking and being aggressive.  Bench Play - The Celtics need their second unit to come in and contribute on both ends of the court.  The starters are going to be tired and they are playing back to back and so the bench will be needed to come through with some quality minutes.  X-Factor Focus on the Road The Celtics are on the road and need to keep their focus in order to win despite travel, hostile crowd and fatigue.  Official Report Tom Washington Over his 21-season NBA officiating career, Tom Washington has officiated 1,248 regular season games, 114 playoff games and three Finals games. He was a member of the crews that officiated the 1995 Schick Rookie Game, the 1996 Japan Games in Tokyo and the 2004 NBA All-Star Game. In addition to his 20 seasons with the NBA, Washington has two years of CBA officiating experience. He has one year of collegiate officiating experience in Division II and III, and five years of high school officiating experience in his hometown of Philadelphia, officiating in the playoffs for both the men’s and women’s league. Washington is a Cum Laude graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from Norfolk State University. The Celtics are 5-5 in their last 10 games with Washington on the court. In a loss to the Pistons last season, Detroit shot 46 free throws to 15 for the Celtics, Rondo was ejected, and Tommy Heinsohn called it the worst officiated game all season (are you cringing yet?). In Game 2 vs the Heat in last season's, the Heat shot 47 free throws to 29 for the Celtics, in spite of the Celtics attacking the basket all night. There were bad calls throughout the 4th quarter and OT. The missed call where Wade hit Rondo on the head leading to a Heat layup was one of the worst. Pierce, Pietrus, and Dooling all fouled out. LeBron was given 24 free throws all by himself. The Rockets are 4-6 over their last 10 games with Washington on the court. His home W/L record this season is 11-7. David Jones Jones has officiated 1,387 regular season games and 45 playoff games throughout his 23 seasons as an NBA official. In addition, Jones officiated both the men’s and women’s 2000 Olympic Bronze Medal Games. Jones has eight years of collegiate officiating experience in the Southeastern, Trans-American Athletic, Metro and Sunshine State Conferences. He was one of the refs who helped to train Tim Donaghy and was very outspoken in condemning Donaghy's actions and felt that Donaghy's actions took the "ethics and integrity of the profession and threw them out the window." I guess he hasn't looked very hard at the current crop of refs that also lacks ethics and integrity. The Celtics are 0-2 this season and 5-5 in their last 10 games with Jones while the Rockets are 2-0 this season and 7-3 in their last 10 with Jones. Jones' home W/L record this season is 13-5. Haywoode Workman Haywoode Workman has officiated 209 regular season games in his first four NBA seasons. A second round draft pick by the Atlanta Hawks in 1989, he played professionally for eight seasons in the NBA and overseas betweeen 1989 to 2000. He spent four seasons officiating in the NBA Development League and also officiated in the CBA before joining the NBA. Workman joins Bernie Fryer and Leon Wood on the short list of NBA players who have made the transition to officiating. Workman was an All-State quarterback in North Carolina in 1983 and played in the NC/SC Shrine Bowl. He played one year of football and basketball for the all time winnigest HBCU coach the late Clearence "Big House" Gaines at Winston-Salem State University. He was inducted into the Oral Roberts University Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003. The Celtics are 0-2 this season and 5-5 over the last 10 games with Workman, including a loss to Philly in the preseason. There hasn't been a lot of controversy over his officiating. Unlike some of the NBA officials, he keeps a fairly low profile. The Rockets are 1-0 this season and are 6-4 in their last 10 with Workman. His home W/L record is 9-6 this season. [Discuss on CG Forums!]
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