By Jessica Camerato
The Boston Celtics wrapped up their regular-season series against the Toronto Raptors on Friday. The following day, they played their third game against the Chicago Bulls.
After already playing 11 teams more than twice this season, the Celtics will face new competition this week when the Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings come to town.
Houston Rockets (16-21)
Monday, January 10
Scoring - Kevin Martin: 23.2 points per game
Rebounds - Luis Scola: 8.2 rebounds per game
Assists - Kyle Lowry: 6.8 assists per game
Last Season: The Celtics split their two-game series with the Rockets. The Cs won in Houston, 94-87, behind 15 fourth-quarter points from Paul Pierce (26 total). The Rockets then defeated the Celtics, 119-114, in overtime in Boston. Aaron Brooks scored a game-high 30 points.
Skidding In: The Rockets are currently on a five-game losing streak and have not won since beating the Raptors on New Years Eve. During the skid, they have lost by an average of 8.8 points to the Portland Trail Blazers (twice), Denver Nuggets, Orlando Magic, and Utah Jazz.
Dishing Dimes: The Celtics (24.6 apg) and Rockets (23.8 apg) are the top two teams in assists per game this season. Rajon Rondo leads the Cs - and the league - with 13.4, while Kyle Lowry has averaged 6.8 for the Rockets.
Familiar Faces for Wafer: Von Wafer played for the Rockets during the 2008-09 season (9.7 ppg, 44.7 FG). His time with the team, however, was marred after being ejected from the bench by coach Rick Adelman during a playoff game against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Sacramento Kings (8-26)
Wednesday, January 12
Scoring - Tyreke Evans: 17.2 points per game
Rebounds: DeMarcus Cousins: 7.6 rebounds per game
Assists - Tyreke Evans: 5.4 assists per game
Last Season: The Celtics swept last series, 2-0, and have won their last six games against Sacramento. The Cs beat the Kings on the road, 95-92, with 44 points from the bench. They also won at TD Garden, 94-86, as Rajon Rondo dished 18 assists and set the franchise record for steals in a single season.
Power at the Point Guard: Tyreke Evans posted 17 points, 11 rebounds, and 7 assists in the one game he played against the Celtics last season (he was injured during the other). This season he is averaging 17.2 points, 5.4 assists, and 4.7 rebounds per game. After battling Derrick Rose on Saturday, Rajon Rondo will have his hands full with Evans.
Young Talent Down Low: After an inconsistent start, rookie DeMarcus Cousins has been settling in offensively. He is averaging 21.8 over the last five games while grabbing nine rebounds during that stretch. Cousins has faced several off-the-court issues, however, including arguing with his coach. A high pressure game on a big stage will be a test for the 20-year-old center.
Champion Returns at the Helm: Former Celtic Paul Westphal returns to Boston as the head coach of the Kings. Westphal was a member of the Cs from 1972-75 and won a championship in 1974.
Stats as of January 9, 2011
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