Houston Rockets vs. Boston Celtics

HOUSTON @ BOSTON | 3/03 | 3:30 PM EST

Houston was shorthanded and in a deep hole in the second half before rallying to down Miami for a fourth straight win. The Rockets entered Saturday fifth in the Western Conference, six games behind the Warriors: they led the Spurs by 3.5 games in the Southwest Division. Houston trailed by 14 at the half and by 21 with 8:44 to play in the third quarter before starting their rally. The Rockets still trailed 113-103 with 6:18 to play before closing the game on an 18-5 run to get the win. Houston shot 49.4 percent from the field, including 19 of 46 from three-point range, and overcame 15 turnovers. James Harden led the Rockets with 58 points, seven rebounds and 10 assists in the win.

Boston snapped a four-game losing skid as they knocked off Washington at home Friday night in their last contest. The Celtics entered Saturday fifth in the Eastern Conference, 10.5 games behind the Bucks for the top spot: they were eight games behind the Raptors in the Atlantic Division race. Boston jumped to a 13-2 lead and led by 10 after the opening quarter. The Celtics saw their lead trimmed to four at the half and one after three quarters: they trailed 86-85 with 10:56 to play before clamping down. Boston went on a 14-2 run over the next 6:56 to go up 99-88 and held the Wizards at bay from there. The Celtics shot 44.7 percent from the field, including 10 of 35 three-point range, and forced 18 turnovers in the game. Al Horford led seven Boston players in double figures with 18 points in the win.

When it comes to the spread, Boston is among the league’s top teams at home, Houston is among the worst on the road. But recent play trumps season trends in this instance. The Rockets have won four in a row, the Celtics losers of four of five. Houston is getting points, and while my projections give Boston a slight edge, there’s value in the underdog here. Take James Harden and the points.

PICK * HOUSTON +2.5

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