Pre-game notes: Boston Celtics vs. Houston Rockets

Pre-game notes: Boston Celtics vs. Houston Rockets

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

WALTHAM With or without Kevin Garnett back in the lineup, tonight's game will be a tough for the Celtics if you put any stock into recent history between these two teams.

In their last five meetings, the road team has emerged victorious. Dig a little deeper, and you'll find that the visiting team has walked away the victor in 12 of their last 15 matchups.

Weird, I know.

So is the fact that Houston comes in having lost its last four games, despite leading by at least nine points in every one of them. The last team to lose that many games leading by that many points or more, was the Minnesota Timberwolves who dropped seven straight in March of 2006, having led by at least nine points in each game.

We've talked about how well and efficient Paul Pierce and Ray Allen have been shooting the ball this season.

The duo has been especially lethal from 3-point range since the calendar flipped a few days ago.

For players who have taken at least 15 3-pointers since January 1st, no one is shooting better than Allen who has connected on 65 percent (15-of-23) of his 3s. Pierce isn't too far behind. He has nailed 56 percent (10-for-18) of his 3s.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn.

Are Celtics better off building through draft or via trade?

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Are Celtics better off building through draft or via trade?

Steve Buckley joins Arbella Early Edition to give his opinion on how the Boston Celtics path to becoming a title contender will come, through the draft of via trades?

Ainge: 'This offseason is bigger' than others for Celtics

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Ainge: 'This offseason is bigger' than others for Celtics

WALTHAM, Mass. – There was very little sizzle in the moves made by Boston during last season, one in which they were hoping would be a summer full of basketball fireworks.

Well the bar is once again set relatively high for the Celtics this offseason, one in which the chances of making an impact, fireworks-worthy deal appear to be even better now than they were a year ago.

The Celtics have Brooklyn’s first-round pick in next month’s draft that has a 15.6 percent chance of being the top overall selection, and will be no worse than the sixth overall pick.

That’s just the first of eight picks for the Celtics in next month’s draft.

Boston has the potential to shed enough salary to offer a pair of near-max contracts to free agents this summer.

“We look forward to every offseason,” said Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations. “This offseason is bigger. My expectations are high this offseason. And yet I also know that it takes good fortune.”

There’s the NBA draft lottery later this month.

“We need some ping-pong balls to bounce our way, give us the best opportunity,” Ainge said.

The Celtics own Brooklyn’s first-round pick courtesy of the Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce trade with Brooklyn in 2013. That pick will be no worse than the sixth overall selection this season but has a 15.6 percent chance of being the top overall selection.

“Whether we use that pick, trade that pick and … in free agency we have opportunities. That’s all we have,” Ainge said. “We have no guarantees of great things happening. We have a lot of hope. We have a lot of work ahead of us. We have to have Plan A through Z; usually it’s A through G.”