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Game 37: Rockets (16-21) at Celtics (28-8)

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff  January 10, 2011 05:02 PM

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The Rockets limp into the TD Garden tonight, black and blue from six straight losses. They're playing their fourth roadie in six games, and coming to Boston for a one-game trip made head coach Rick Adelman a little grouchy toward the league ("It's a four-hour flight," he told the Houston Chronicle. "I don't know if the league knows where Boston and Houston are."). With point guard Aaron Brooks out of the lineup and Yao Ming out for the season, it's not to understand his frustrations.

Meanwhile, the Celtics are trying to hold things together as news comes back about players possibly returning to the lineep. The return they're most anticipating -- Kevin Garnett -- could happen tonight ... or at some point this week.

Tip-off: 7:30 p.m.

Records: Celtics (28-8), Rockets (16-21)

Broadcast info: CSN, WEEI

Probable starters:

Celtics:
PG: Rajon Rondo
SG: Ray Allen
SF: Paul Pierce
PF: Glen Davis
C: Shaquille O'Neal

Rockets:
PG: Kyle Lowry
SG: Kevin Martin
SF: Shane Battier
PF: Luis Scola
C: Jordan Hill

Storylines:

Will Garnett play? The day after Garnett strained his right calf Dec. 29 in Detroit, Celtics president Danny Ainge said it would only be two weeks before he returned to the lineup. That would put his comeback at Wednesday night's matchup against the Kings. But before the Celtics' win over Toronto last Friday, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he expected Garnett back at some point this week (the Celtics play three games) and possibly as early as today. For what it's worth, Garnett did not hit the floor this morning at shootaround. He, instead, stayed behind in the weight room. But on the blog he runs for Chinese shoe company ANTA, he said his return was "close."

kevin martin.JPGFoul play: After seeing Derrick Rose make roundtrips to the free throw line in Saturday's loss to the Bulls, the Celtics will have to deal with another player who racks up points at the free throw line. Kevin Martin's made the most free throws of anyone in the league (280). What's more interesting, as the Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen pointed out this morning, is that Martin has used his ridiculously hypnotic pump fake to draw the fifth most shooting fouls in the league this season. He's also second in the league in fouls drawn on 3-point attempts.

Baby's shots: The one thing that stuck out down the stretch of the Celtics' loss to the Bulls was that Glen Davis took more than half of the team's shots in the fourth quarter. Paul Pierce? One shot. Ray Allen? None. As expected in Rivers' father-stepson relationship with Davis, Rivers was less than pleased with the number of shots Davis put up. Since filling in for Kevin Garnett, Davis is taking 14.3 shots a game.

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