Going into Wednesday’s game against the Suns, the Boston Celtics were already without their most talented big man in Al Horford. Just 6 minutes into the Suns matchup, big man number two Aron Baynes went down with a significant injury, breaking a bone in his left hand, leaving him out for at least 3 weeks, and possibly up to six. The injury crisis could not have come at a worse time for Boston, with two marque Eastern Conference games right after losing two in a row. The first big game of the pair comes on Friday, December 21st, when MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks come to Boston, and concludes on Christmas, playing the dangerous and young 76ers. Milwaukee is currently 4th in team rebounding, and Philadelphia is sitting in 6th place. Look for this to be the key stat in the matchup with a Boston team that simply does not have the size on the roster to be able to rebound with the opposition. As long as the big man injuries continue for Boston, do not expect them to climb any standings anytime soon.
Games That Baynes/Horford expected to miss (Minimum) :
Dec 21 vs Milwaukee
Dec 23 vs Charlotte
Dec 25 vs Philadelphia
Dec 27 @ Houston
Dec 29 @ Memphis
In the West, the Rockets have also lost a huge part of what they do. Ballhander Chris Paul has been ruled out indefinitely, making this the third time the 33 year old is missing time due to injury in a year. Without CP3, there is not enough creation around James Harden. The pick and roll with just Harden is too predictable, and Eric Gordon has not proven that he can pick up the slack in CP3’s position. With Paul last year, Houston was one game away from finishing Golden State and representing the West in the finals. But, Paul goes down, and Houston was not the deadly team that they were with him. This year, Houston is lower in the standings than they have been in years at this time of the season, and are heading for a difficult streak without their second best player.
Games That Chris Paul expected to miss (Minimum) :
Dec 22 vs San Antonio
Dec 25 vs Oklahoma City
Dec 27 vs Boston
Dec 29 @ New Orleans
Dec 31 vs Memphis
Looking forward, Houston without Chris Paul will struggle through this Christmas period, playing 4 Western contenders who will all like their chances due to the absence of CP3.