NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, November 19th (All times Eastern)
Boston Celtics (4-7) at Houston Rockets (7-4), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Houston Rockets will try for a third consecutive victory Tuesday when they welcome the Boston Celtics, who've lost three straight, to the Toyota Center.
The Rockets have taken two straight after a disappointing overtime loss in Philadelphia on Wednesday.
Interestingly, that was the last time Omer Asik played for the Rockets. He's been sat out the last two contests amid reports that Asik once again demanded a trade. He apparently did so when Houston signed free-agent star Dwight Howard in the summer.
Asik hasn't practiced in days and is clearly affected by Howard's presence. He did return to practice on Monday and should be available Tuesday, if head coach Kevin McHale wants to play him.
"He apologized for it and we have to move on," Howard said. "We can't dwell on it. We can't make it an issue. Like I said, we have to love him at the point where he is now and keep on loving him. It's a tough situation and we all have to be understanding and empathize with him and keep moving forward."
Houston's latest victory came at home Saturday against the Denver Nuggets. The Rockets prevailed, 122-111, which was Houston's highest scoring output of the season.
"We still have things to work on, but this is definitely a step in the right direction," said forward Chandler Parsons.
The Rockets shot 50.6 percent from the floor and seven Houston players finished in double figures, led by Howard's 25 points. He also went 17-for-24 from the free-throw line as teams are definitely employing the "Hack-a-Howard" philosophy.
Parsons, James Harden, Terrence Jones, Jeremy Lin, Patrick Beverley and Donatas Motiejunas also scored in double digits.
The C's haven't won since a 120-105 decision over the Orlando Magic at home on Nov. 11. That capped a four-game winning run, but since they've dropped three straight, including two at home. The most recent Boston setback came in Minnesota on Saturday night.
The Timberwolves blew the game open with a 34-20 third-quarter performance. Minnesota held the Celtics to 39.5 percent shooting from the field and forced 22 Boston turnovers.
"That four-game winning streak, we found a comfort zone and we were sharing the ball," said forward Jared Sullinger. " It's a tough loss because it was a five-point game at halftime and it's like they flipped a switch on us at halftime. We've got some work to do."
Avery Bradley led the way for Boston with 27 points on 12-for-23 shooting. Brandon Bass added 15 and Jordan Crawford was the only other Celtic in double figures with 10 points. Vitor Faverani returned to the starting lineup Saturday and had nine points and 14 rebounds.
The Celtics visit San Antonio on Wednesday to polish off the road trip.
Boston and Houston split last season's two meetings and the former has gone 6-3 in its last nine at Houston.
11/19 10:06:11 ET