The Boston Celtics head to the Lone Star state for a pair of games against the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs on back-to-back nights.
The Celtics tackled the first of the Texas trio Wednesday night, although it wasn't easy: the Dallas Mavericks pushed Boston into double overtime, as the C's failed to convert on potential game-winners at the end of both regulation and the first overtime thanks to strong defense by Dallas. But Paul Pierce's 12 points between the overtime sessions were too much, as Boston won 117-115. It remains to see whether the marathon game will take its toll on Boston, as they play two tough games with just a travel day on Thursday counting as rest. Rajon Rondo should be able to recharge from a 52-minute outing, but his older counterparts might not - Pierce and Kevin Garnett each logged over 40 minutes, and that's not exactly ideal at their age.
First up are the Rockets, led by James Harden. The preseason acquisition of Harden has worked out pretty well for Houston, as he's averaging 25 and looking like a legitimate first scoring option. Jeremy Lin has been modestly disappointing after his superstar turn last year with New York, but he's averaging 11.3 points and 6.1 assists and has been much better with the turnover issues that plagued him last season.
There's been no falloff for the Spurs, who are as good and as deep as ever. They're second in the Western Conference at 18-6, despite a buzzer-beating three by Mo Williams sinking them Thursday night. At 30, Tony Parker might be having the best season of his career, at 19.1 points and 7.5 assists.
Here's a look at Boston's games this weekend, plus nationally televised games - although two of those feature Boston.
Friday, Dec. 14
Boston Celtics vs. Houston Rockets, 8 p.m., ESPN
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Denver Rockets, 10:30 p.m., ESPN
Saturday, Dec. 15
Boston Celtics vs. San Antonio Spurs, 8:30 p.m., NBATV, Comcast SportsNet-New England