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The Celtics Haven't Beaten The Rockets Since The Time Marcus Smart Pulled Some All Time Marcus Smart Shit

Big time showdown tonight in Houston between the red hot Celtics and the new look Rockets. Their decision to just permanently go super small has had mixed results, they took care of the Lakers on the road which was impressive but then got shit stomped by the Suns by 30+ which isn't great, and then we all saw what Bojan did to them the other night

In terms of a matchup, this style of play is much more conducive to how the Celts prefer to play, and with reports that Eric Gordon is out and Jaylen Brown is in, the Celts in theory have the wings and perimeter defenders available to match up with this new Rockets style. The Rockets have won the last three meetings between these two teams and honestly have owned the last 7 meetings (5-2) with 4 of them being decided by 4 points or less. Which is why what better way to get your mind right for this big time test than to relive how the Celtics won their only game in their last four tries against this team. It may have been the most Marcus Smart shit in the history of all Marcus Smart plays. It was perfection

Gives me chills even to this day. That was three years ago and it rules just as much today as it did then. Chances are things are going to be a little different this time around given the change in rosters, so what can we expect tonight?

Well for starters, you know the threes are coming from HOU. Since the Capela trade they are #1 in the NBA in 3PA a night at 44 which is slightly up from where they've been all season. What we haven't seen though is them be all that impactful from the FT line. They rank 22nd in the NBA since the deal at 19.3, after being #1 in the NBA at 26.2 all season. It'll be interesting to see how a team like the Celtics, a below average team in opponent FTA (19th), handle both Harden and Westbrook. This is the first time they've seen that duo and my fear is they are not going to be able to defend without fouling. So far in February they are 30th in the NBA in opponents FTA at 27.4. That's a tad concerning given who they play tonight. 

It feels a little weird that it's the Celtics who actually have the size advantage, but it wouldn't shock me if we see Brad go crazy and have lineups with like Grant/Semi playing the small ball five at times. The encouraging sign is so far this month the Celts are 4th in the NBA in opponents 3PM and 8th in opponents 3P%. It's almost like if there was any system this team was built to defend, it's the Rockets. At the same time, nobody has been better than the Rockets this month at causing opponent turnovers and the Celts have shown to be sloppy as of late. The last thing you want to do is turn the ball over on the road in HOU because those turn into transition momentum threes and that's how you get your ass blown out. 

Tonight is the next test on this brutal 8 game stretch, and with TOR showing no signs of ever losing a game again the Celts need this one to keep pace. Hopefully it won't come down to Smart having to take back to back prayer charges in the final 10 seconds.