NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, April 2nd (All times eastern)
Houston Rockets (37-37) at Boston Celtics (47-27), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Houston Rockets are on the verge of being eliminated from postseason contention and will try to stay in the hunt tonight, when they resume a four-game road trip against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden.
Houston will be out of the playoff picture with its next loss or a win by the San Antonio Spurs. It is currently eight games behind the No. 7 Spurs and eighth-seeded Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference, and has dropped five of six games, including Wednesday's 119-102 setback against the Spurs in the opener of the trek.
Aaron Brooks scored 21 points, while Luis Scola and Kyle Lowry had 17 points and seven rebounds apiece for the Rockets, who are 16-20 as the guest and will also visit the Pacers and Grizzlies on the road swing.
"They're too good for us. They're playing really well," Scola said of the Spurs. "They were too much for us."
Scola has averaged 21.3 points and 10.7 rebounds over the last 15 games. The Rockets played without high-scoring guard Kevin Martin for a fourth straight game because of a shoulder injury. Martin is questionable for Friday and is averaging 20.7 points per game.
Boston has already wrapped up the Atlantic Division and is headed to the playoffs, but has been struggling lately at home. It has lost two straight games to fall to 2-2 on a six-game residency and suffered a 109-104 defeat at the hands of Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday. Durant scored 37 points and sank all 15 of his free throws.
Rajon Rondo filled the stat sheet with 16 points, 11 assists, five boards and five steals for the Celtics, who are a game behind Atlanta for the third spot in the Eastern Conference and fell to 23-14 in Beantown. Kevin Garnett had 18 points and nine rebounds, and Rasheed Wallace also scored 18 points in defeat.
"It's a human game," Boston head coach Doc Rivers said. "Sometimes you're just going to play poorly. It happens. You're disappointed both ways. That doesn't happen very often; when we play well we usually win."
The Celtics, losers of three of five games overall, will also host Cleveland on the homestand. Rondo (714) needs two more assists to pass Celtics legend Bob Cousy for most in a season. Cousy dished out 715 assists during the 1959-60 campaign.
Boston recently defeated Houston, 94-87, on March 19 at the Toyota Center and has won four of the past five meetings. The Rockets, however, are 10-5 in their last 15 trips to Beantown.
04/02 11:32:58 ET