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Monday, 25 September 2017 15:59

Celtics vs. Rockets 2017-18 Preview

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A preview of the 2017-18 season series between the Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets. The Rockets won 55 games last season and have added all-star point guard Chris Paul.

The Rockets made a big jump last season with Mike D'Antoni at the helm and James Harden playing the point guard position. One thing Houston did have that went underappreciated was the number and quality of shooters it has. Between Harden, Eric Gordon, Trevor Ariza and Ryan Anderson, you have four guys that could make 8-10 threes on any given night and shot the ball early and often. The Rockets added another guy in Lou Williams mid season to make them even more dangerous.

 

They split with the Celtics (1-1) last season, finished the regular season 5-5 in their last 10 and Harden wore out toward the end of the season. In what was surprising to me, the Spurs took out the Rockets in six games.

 

Any time you can add a top-10 player in the league, you had a good offseason. I've always liked Chris Paul going back to his college days at Wake. I feel that despite all his accomplishments, he is still very underrated. They traded Lou Williams and a pile of things for Paul. What that should do is take away a lot of their depth, which worries me. They have 10 guys right now on the roster I could see playing, so any injuries could spell trouble. They have to get something out of the bench guys that include offseason additions Tarik Black, P.J. Tucker as well as Troy Williams and Nene.

 

They took two players in the second round (Isaiah Hartenstein and Dillon Brooks) and immediately traded Brooks to the Grizzlies. Hartenstein probably won't make an impact this season.

 

The main thing I want to see is ho D'Antonio staggers Harden and Paul's minutes. I think it will resemble what Terry Stotts of the Blazers does with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Both will start and I think one comes out seven minutes in and the other plays the remainder of the first quarter. Then the other guy comes back in and the other rests. The two will probably start and finish each game and half together, but won't play as much together as other backcourts around the league.

 

I'm interested to see where the scoring comes from off the bench and how the reserves develop.

 

I feel like with the Knicks trade of Carmelo Anthony to the Thunder, there aren't any big moves to be made. They could definitely add a player at the deadline (ala Lou Williams last year), but I don't see anything before the season or immediately after it starts.

 

There is a 0.0 percent chance the Rockets and Celtics meet in the playoffs. In a fantasy world though, I would give the Rockets the advantage, because they have two of the top 10 players in the league.

 

Everyone in the West outside of Golden State is just kind of there. They are a fun team to watch, but kind of are what they are. For them to have a chance to contend, something bad would have to happen where Harden and Paul get hurt and they luck into either Michael Porter Jr. or Marvin Baggley with a top-2 pick. There is a very, very slim chance of that.

 

I see this team finishing 57-25, good for third in the West.

 

Vince Rodemer

CLNS contributor. Former sports reporter for the Lewistown Sentinel in Pennsylvania.

Currently a design editor at North of Boston Media Group and freelance sports reporter for several publications including the Nashua Telegraph.

Fan of baseball, basketball, football, golf and MMA.\

TTP.

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