NBA Betting – Boston Celtics at Houston Rockets

Written by:
Phil Simon
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The Houston Rockets are committed to using an abnormally small lineup after dealing Clint Capela at the trade deadline. The strategy worked with four straight wins in the immediate aftermath. Things have cooled lately with the Rockets looking to stop a two-game slide in their final contest before the All-Star break. They’ll have to do it Tuesday against the streaking Boston Celtics, who have won seven in a row and 10 of their last 11 to solidify their spot among the top three in the Eastern Conference standings.  CLAIM YOUR WELCOME BONUS HERE - MAXIMUM $1000

Boston Celtics at Houston Rockets

Date and Time: Tuesday, February 11, 2020, 9:30 p.m. ET

Location: Toyota Center, Houston, TX

Opening NBA Odds: Houston -3, O/U 231.5

Celtics at Rockets TV Coverage: TNT

Odds Analysis

Houston opened as a 3-point home favorite, but they are certainly not the better team right now. That’s not to say the Rockets won’t win this contest, but losses to Phoenix and Utah put a damper on the small-ball philosophy. The Celtics, meanwhile, are on a heater having won seven straight and 10 of their last 11 while going 8-3 ATS. Boston improved to 15-10 on the road by winning its last three away games, including a 112-111 cover at OKC on Sunday. Houston fell to 33-20 SU and 25-28 ATS with upset losses in its last two games. The Rockets have won three straight in the series and covered both games last season. This is the first of two meetings between the clubs.

Boston Celtics

Dealing with injuries to key players for most of the last month, the Celtics learned how to win while shorthanded and relied on reserves to provide productive minutes. Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart and Enes Kanter, among others, all missed time lately and the Celtics scuffled initially. The good news is that they all weren’t out of the lineup at the same time and none of the ailments were long-term.

For the first time in several weeks everybody was available and Boston emerged with a 112-111 win over Oklahoma City on Sunday. In his second game back from injury, Walker scored 27 points, Tatum had 26 and Brown added 17 while combining to make 11 three-pointers. They are the only trio of teammates in the NBA averaging at least 20 points per game, making the offense troublesome to opponents. Boston scored at least 109 points in every game during its current winning streak with the OVER going 3-1 in the last four.

Boston has plenty of firepower on offense, but if you can’t defend you’re not playing for Brad Stevens. The Celtics have been one of the top defensive clubs for the past several seasons and this year is no different. They have the NBA’s second-best unit allowing just 105.5 points per game while holding opponents to 44.2 percent field goal shooting. They also rank third in defensive efficiency. They will have to guard the entire floor to subdue the Rockets.

Houston Rockets

The switch to a smaller lineup came about more out of necessity than anything else. With Capela sidelined due to a foot injury before being dealt, Mike D’Antoni seized the opportunity to revolutionize the game. And he’s got the players to do it. The strategy is simple: unclog the middle, spread the floor, and let the shooters shoot. “Every time you try something different, these guys have to believe in it,” the coach said.

With James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Eric Gordon getting more chances to launch the basketball, yeah they’re going to buy in. And it also helps that the Rockets enjoyed success with the format initially. They went without a player taller than 6-6 for the first time about two weeks ago and beat the Mavs, 128-121, with Harden and Westbrook combining for 67 points on 53 field goal attempts. “When we’re getting to the rim it’s pretty devastating, so they better beat us up inside before we have to change,” D’Antoni said.

The Rockets won four straight with their new lineup and recent acquisition Robert Covington, who is now the tallest player listed at 6-8, caught on immediately. He drained a couple of big threes late and Russ went for 41 to take down the Lakers on the road. That win validated the small-ball format. It doesn’t work if everyone’s not playing. Without Westbrook, the streak ended in Phoenix. And we wouldn’t be talking about a slump if Bojan Bogdanovic didn’t hit a miraculous three to give Utah a 114-113 win last time out.

Bet Celtics at Rockets at BookMaker.eu

Houston will have the big guns ready to fire in its last game before the break. But Boston’s depth and defensive intensity will create problems for the Rockets, and the Cs are potent scoring the basketball as well. The versatility of the Celtics is a good match for the smaller Rockets and will expose the small-ball lineup in a cover win.

NBA Score Prediction: Boston 118, Houston 111

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