The Rockets couldn't get a hotel room in the city and will therefore be ensconced at the Radisson in Danvers, which is ice country . . . Rick Barry is the only unhealthy Rocket. He banged knees with Ronnie Lee on March 16, and has been of little use since. He played a total of nine minutes in the San Antonio miniseries, appearing in the 141-120 clincher only in garbage time. His left knee has been swollen most of the time .
The present Houston starting unit of Moses Malone, Billy Paultz, Robert Reid, Calvin Murphy and Tom Henderson has never started a game against the Celtics. Henderson regained his starting job in March after suffering through a horrible first half of the season. Malone, who is coming off a 37-point, 20-rebound effort in the series clincher against the Spurs, averaged 23 points and 15 rebounds a game against the Celtics in the six regular-season games. The Rocket who can be expected to increase his production the most is Murphy. He has enjoyed many big games against the Celtics in past years, but this season he only averaged 13 points a game against them. He warmed up for this series with 33 against San Antonio on Sunday night . . . Robert Reid asserted himself against Boston, three times exceeding 20 points, including a dazzling 12-for-23, 26-point effort in the March 12 game at the Garden.
The Celtic who should concern the Rockets in the best-of-seven series is Cedric Maxwell, who four times hit them for 20 points, including a season's high of 29 on Jan. 2 . . . Dave Cowens may or may not start tomorrow night, but he will play. The rest did his injured left big toe a lot of good, and by tomorrow it will be two full weeks since he reinjured the appendage, which was originally banged up against Houston on Jan. 22.