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Friday, December 14th (All times Eastern)
Boston Celtics (12-9) at Houston Rockets (10-11), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Boston Celtics have gotten plenty of rest since Wednesday's double-overtime win and they'll need it when they head to Houston to face the Rockets Friday.
The Celtics pulled out a 117-115 victory over the Dallas Mavericks, but several Boston players logged heavy minutes to do so. Rajon Rondo played over 52 minutes, but had 16 points, 15 assists and nine rebounds.
Paul Pierce led the way for the Celts with 34 points in 44 minutes. Jason Terry only had 10 points against his former team, but inched up on 48 minutes. Kevin Garnett also went over the 40-minute mark in getting 16 points.
"I felt good, I felt like this is our chance," said Pierce. "We didn't want to let this one get away. Especially with a huge road trip coming up this is a big win for us ... When the game is tight - the type of game that was going on tonight - I'm really caught up in the game, not really thinking about my minutes."
The Celtics embark on a three-game road trip with stops in Houston, San Antonio and Chicago.
Statistically, the Celtics are not the defensive juggernaut they once were. Boston ranks 16th in points allowed and 20th in opponents' field-goal percentage.
That could be problematic against a Rockets team that is third in points scored.
Houston has gone over the 100-point mark in six of its last nine and, in two of those, the Rockets went for 130-plus.
The Rockets only scored 99 in a six-point victory Wednesday at home versus the Washington Wizards. James Harden paced the Rockets with 31 points, while Omer Asik only had nine points, but pulled down 16 rebounds.
This matchup brings back a lot of memories for Rockets coach Kevin McHale. He played his entire 13-year, Hall of Fame career with the Celtics and remains close friends with Danny Ainge, the president of basketball operations for Boston.
"There are too many memories," said McHale, who is 1-2 since returning to the team on Dec. 8. "I had a great time. I had a great career. I always say I was blessed to be in the league at a great time and play with great players and play for a great manager in Red (Auerbach) and great coaches. It was truly a blessing."
McHale was also the man who drafted Garnett with the fifth pick in the 1995 NBA Draft when he was general manager of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Celtics won last season's lone matchup, but the Rockets won the three before that.
12/14 10:38:09 ET