Report: Rockets’ James Harden expected to play vs. Celtics despite calf contusion
Houston Rockets guard James Harden is expected to play against the Boston Celtics, according to ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. Harden is officially listed as “questionable” for the game, but is likely to take the floor after suffering a left calf contusion likely during a Christmas Day win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Rockets are already thin in the backcourt due to the absence of floor general Chris Paul, who is out due to a hamstring injury.
The addition of Austin Rivers has given this team an offensive punch that can temporarily aid them in hopes to cling onto a playoff berth, but they will need Harden to summon his MVP-caliber play during Paul’s absence to have a chance in a ruthless West, where one slip could cause a precipitous fall out of the playoff picture.
Houston has climbed the ladder steadily, previously one spot away from the conference’s cellar, but recently making strides to move up after winning seven of their last 10 games.
The Rockets will face a team that, like them, also had to struggle to climb into playoff position, as the Celtics have also won seven of their last 10 games to get to 20-13 on the season and fifth place in their conference.
Both of these teams came a game away from reaching the NBA Finals and share the same unequivocal goal of not failing to do so this time around, despite the early-season complications that have gotten in the way of reaching a top-four spot in their respective conferences.
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