Members of the Big Three will collide on Tuesday night, as Kevin McHale -- who starred alongside Larry Bird and Robert Parish to form the original Big Three -- returns to Boston, this time as a head coach, as his Houston Rockets face the Boston Celtics at 7:30 p.m. EDT at TD Garden in Boston, MA (TV/Radio: CSNNE/WEEI).
McHale is in his first season as the Rockets coach and has guided the team to a 21-17 record, good enough for eighth place in the Western Conference. Prior to his stint in Houston, McHale coached the Minnesota Timberwolves for two non-consecutive seasons in 2004-05 and again in 2008-09. McHale has a lifetime coaching record of 60-72 in 132 games.
Houston's resurgence has been led by Kevin Martin, who is averaging a team-high 18.2 points. The Rockets have lost their first two games in March and three consecutive overall after winning their previous four. The team's longest winning streak this season came in mid January, when it pulled out seven straight wins after losing seven of their first ten games.
Martin's 25 points and eight assists were not enough to lift the Rockets' in their last game, a 105-103 overtime loss to the new-look Los Angeles Clippers. Six players from Houston reached double-digit scoring, with Samuel Dalembert (17 points and 12 rebounds) and Luis Scola (16 points, 12 rebounds) both posting double-doubles in the narrow loss.
Boston has been trending in the opposite direction, winning its last three after dropping five consecutive games heading into the All-Star break. The Celtics topped the Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks in close games before hanging on or a 115-111 win over the New York Knicks in overtime on Sunday. Paul Pierce tied a season high with 34 points and Rajon Rondo put on a show with his fourth triple double of the season, totaling 18 points, 20 assists and 17 boards.
Rondo and Pierce have been surrounded by trade rumors, but their recent play has helped to quiet them to some degree. Ray Allen has also had his name mentioned in rumors, with the Los Angeles Clippers the latest team to have their name tied to the three-point king. Nevertheless, the Celts have been pushing through and winning games.