7:30 PM ET, January 13, 2014
TD Garden, Boston, MA
In the past the Houston Rockets have always done a great job scoring by outrunning their rivals. Head coach Kevin McHale is well aware of this.
YouWager experts consider the Rockets should have a much easier time doing that if Chandler Parsons is able to play.
The 25 year-old is expected to return after a three-game absence to night as visiting Houston tries to hand the Boston Celtics their ninth straight defeat.
Only the Portland Trail Blazers and the Minnesota Timberwolves average more points than the Rockets’ 105.3, but this team’s worst offensive performance of the season came Saturday versus the Atlanta hawks, an 83-80 defeat as Parsons missed his second straight game with a sore knee.
However, Houston (24-14) recovered the next night, shooting 52.1 percent as four of their five starters scored at least 18 in a 114-107 victory versus the Washington Wizards.
Things weren’t easy when the Rockets saw a 25-point third-quarter lead turn into a five-point deficit. Nevertheless, Houston closed on a 17-5 run thanks to eight straight points from James Harden.
The Rockets finished with 22 assists, improving to 11-3 when posting at least that many.
With Parsons around things should get better. The Rockets’ third-leading scorer at 17.2 points per game is expected to play Monday after working out Sunday.
The team is 2/3 without Parsons this NBA season, averaging 99.6 points. Houston has averaged 106.2 points when Parsons, who has shot 53.2 percent in his last 10 games, has played.
The small forward’s potential return would give Jeremy Lin another option while running the point. The guard had 18 points and eight assists versus Washingto after getting 11 and one versus the Hawks.
The Celtics blew a halftime lead for the second straight night Saturday, falling 112-104 versus the Trail Blazers after shooting 34.0 percent in the final 24 minutes.
Head coach Brad Stevens still had hope. Boston stayed within single digits of the Los Angeles Clippers, Golden StateWarriors and Trail Blazers after losing the first two games of their trip by a combined 56 points.
Boston won’t have had much time to recover after flying cross-country following Saturday’s defeat, but online sports betting fans know they’ve made a habit of playing close games at home. Six of the Celtics’ last seven at TD Garden have been decided by four points or fewer, a stretch in which it’s gone 3-4.