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Rajon Rondo says he didn’t feel any soreness in hand after season opener

Rajn Rondo scored 13 points in the Celtics’ season-opening win against the Nets Wednesday at TD Garden.Elise Amendola/AP

The Celtics play the first of two season matchups against the Rockets Saturday night.

The Rockets are 2-0 after road wins at Los Angeles Lakers and at the Utah Jazz. They could be without starting point guard Patrick Beverley, who is nursing a strained right hamstring and is a gametime decision. If he can’t go, former Celtic Jason Terry will man the point guard position along with second-year guard Isaiah Canaan.

Rajon Rondo said Saturday morning he didn’t experience any soreness from his surgically repaired hand after his first NBA game in six months. Rondo said he was pleased with his opening night performance, but “it was just one game.”


Gerald Wallace is available to play after missing practice Thursday to get a shot in his surgically repaired left knee. Wallace told the Globe that he is not near 100 percent, but the shot “was to check for tendinitis and arthritis.”

Rockets center Dwight Howard said the Celtics are definitely a formidable opponent, especially with a healthy Rondo.

“You’re talking about a guy who can score, pass, shoot, do whatever you need him to do, defend, rebound,” Howard said. “He’s tough. He’ll get you 13 rebounds, 10 assists and 20 points, and he does it easy. The one thing I like about Rondo is he’s looking to make everybody better. Me playing against Rondo a lot, especially in those Celtic days with him, KG [Kevin Garnett], Paul Pierce and those guys, he was tough to guard.

“Not only was he making plays for everybody else, he was getting 16, 17 rebounds. He’s always a matchup nightmare for anybody because he’s crafty. That’s what makes him so good.”

The Rockets won both meetings last season, including a 109-85 win at Toyota Center on Nov. 19, 2013. It was one of the more embarrassing Celtics performances of the season.


Key matchup: Avery Bradley vs. James Harden

They haven’t opposed each other extensively but Bradley has fared well against Harden defensively over the years. Bradley will try to prevent Harden from getting into the paint and getting to the free throw line. Harden is a natural scorer and Bradley will have to stay out of foul trouble for the Celtics to succeed.

Projected starting lineups


PG Rajon Rondo

SG Avery Bradley

SF Jeff Green

PF Jared Sullinger

C Kelly Olynyk


PG Jason Terry

SG James Harden

SF Trevor Ariza

PF Terrence Jones

C Dwight Howard

Officials: David Jones, Derrick Collins, Sean Wright

Rockets at a glance

When, where: Saturday, 8 p.m., Toyota Center

TV, radio: CSN, WZLX (100.7)

Scoring: James Harden 25, Trevor Ariza 18, Dwight Howard 17.5.

Rebounding: Howard 10.5, Terrence Jones 8, Kostas Papanikolaou 4.

Assists: Harden 8, Papanikolaou 4, Patrick Beverley 3.5.

Head to head: This is the first of two meetings.

Miscellany: The Rockets won both meetings by double-digits last season . . . Howard had 22 points and 10 rebounds in the Rockets’ victory Wednesday over the Jazz. But the center had six turnovers and fouled out late in the game . . . Papanikolaou made his first four 3-point attempts Wednesday.

Follow Gary Washburn on Twitter @GWashburnGlobe.