Welcome back to another edition of Celtics Weekly Game Slate! In these articles, we continuously break down the Celtics weekly slate of games. This week is no different. The Celtics are finishing up a four game West Coast trip this week after finishing 1-1 last week. With this in mind, let’s wait no further and break down the Celtics three games this week.
2/25 @ Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers are one of the most surprising teams in the NBA this season, and not in a good way. Right now, the Blazers are 26-32 and three games out of the last playoff spot in the West. However, don’t take this team lightly. There’s a lot of talent on this roster. You have to start with Damian Lillard. He’s having career best seasons in PPG (29.5) and APG (7.9). Lillard continues to play to the narrative of being the underrated superstar in the NBA. Along with Lillard is his backcourt mate C.J. McCollum. McCollum is a man that knows his abilities and knows how to step it up in big moments. He’s averaging 21.8 PPG along with four rebounds and assists per game as well. This duo is hard to guard for a whole game. There’s complementary pieces as well, such as Carmelo Anthony, Hassan Whiteside, and Jusuf Nurkic. However, I still like the Celtics in this matchup. The overall athleticism and depth of the Celtics should be too much for the Trail Blazers to handle. Plus, the Celtics might have a little edge after their heartbreaking loss to the Lakers Sunday afternoon. I feel bad for Portland.
2/26 @ Utah Jazz
The Celtics end their road trip with the Utah Jazz. This is a game that I’m a little bit nervous about because it’s on the second night of a back-to-back. With the Jazz it starts and ends with Donovan Mitchell. The third year guard out of Louisville continues to improve, which includes a first appearance to the All-star game. Mitchell is averaging 24.2 PPG along with 4.3 rebounds and assists per game. Some other pieces to worry about include Mike Conley, Rudy Gobert, and Bojan Bogdanovic. Normally, I’d like the Celtics in this matchup. But in this one the Jazz might have the advantage because of the Celtics playing the second night of a back-to-back. A win would be huge for the Celtics to prove they can win in tough of situations.
2/29 vs. Houston Rockets
The Celtics week of games ends with a Saturday night marque matchup vs. the Houston Rockets. The Rockets are playing with an interesting approach this season with their decision to not play with a traditional center. We know the Rockets duo of James Harden and Russell Westbrook. They’re going to get their points. We’re going to see James Harden at the foul line more than we’d be okay with. But in this game the Celtics will have the size advantage and they better take advantage of that factor. Daniel Theis and Enes Kanter should have monster games in this one. The only difficulty will be if the Rockets play a lot of pick and roll style offense, which has been Kanter’s weakness on defense in the past. Other than that, it’s hard to pick against the Celtics at home with a hopefully healthy Kemba Walker returning to the starting lineup.