The Celtics bench has been active, and it may need to be even more active Friday night as Boston hosts the up-tempo Houston Rockets, who bring the NBA’s most explosive offense to TD Garden. The Celtics have their first four-game winning streak of the season as they open up their second of five straight home games. The Rockets are coming off their worst offensive performance in an 88-79 loss to New Orleans.
BOSTON CELTICS (18-17)
PG Rajon Rondo
SG Avery Bradley
SF Paul Pierce
PF Brandon Bass
C Kevin Garnett
HOUSTON ROCKETS (21-15)
PG Jeremy Lin
SG James Harden
SF Chandler Parsons
PF Marcus Morris
C Omer Asik
Officials: Tony Brown, Olandis Poole, Bill Kennedy
TV/Radio: 7:30 p.m. Comcast SportsNet / WEEI
• Boston has allowed just 82.8 points per game during their win streak, and Paul Pierce pointed straight toward the return of Avery Bradley as the reason why. Bradley has averaged just 22 minutes per game but could be asked for more as he’ll be in charge of restraining James Harden, who has scored at least 25 points in 14 straight games.
• Paul Pierce scored a season-low 7 points last time out in a 87-79 win over the Suns. The last time Pierce scored less than 10 points in a game, it took him six games before he returned to the 25-point mark. Pierce said he’s enjoyed the extra rest lately, though, even declining to go back onto the floor when coach Doc Rivers called his name on Wednesday.
• Jason Collins, nursing ankle and hamstring injuries, said he’s slowly getting better but has appreciated the rest Rivers has given him. Collins has played nine total minutes the last three games as Jared Sullinger continues to gain playing time.
• Even after Jeremy Lin’s poor start to the season, he’s averaged 6.3 assists and 3.2 turnovers per game this season, both of which are improvements from his breakout-campaign with the Knicks. Lin told the Houston Chronicle he still isn’t happy with the number of turnovers he’s given up. The Rockets lead the NBA with 16.2 turnovers per game.
• Former Celtic Kevin McHale makes his second return to Boston as the Rockets’ head coach. He played a big role in the creation of Kevin Garnett’s signature fade-away jumper. Garnett said the downside of their close relationship was that McHale knew his game too well, which could hurt him against the Rockets. McHale brushed off Garnett’s feud with Carmelo Anthony, telling the Houston Chronicle, “If you heard half the stuff we used to say. I chuckle at that.”
• Rivers paid a compliment to Chandler Parsons, who has averaged 14 points and six rebounds per game this season, saying he regretted passing on the former Florida star in the 2011 NBA draft.