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Final: Rockets 93, Celtics 77

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff  March 18, 2011 08:33 PM

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Yoon S. Byun

Final, Rockets, 93-77: The Celtics get their bells rung by a Rockets team fighting for the last spot in the West.

Fourth quarter, 5:31, Rockets 90-69: Right now, the Celtics' biggest loss of the season seems inevitable. It could also be their biggest loss since dropping one by 21 to San Antonio last April and by 30 to Cleveland the season before that.

Third quarter, 1:28, Rockets 81-52: Everyone except Rajon Rondo stopped for a second after Patrick Patterson smashed the rim with a tip-dunk that put the Rockets up by 29. They're as stunned as you are apparently.

Third quarter, 5:31, Rockets 72-48: That's three offensive fouls for Kevin Garnett, and at least one person's not happy about it.

oh boy Tommy just dropped a GD on the air #celticsless than a minute ago via TweetDeck

Third quarter, 8:35, Rockets 66-46: Paul Pierce ran into a screen chasing Chase Budinger and favored his right ankle for a while. He looked to the bench, but never asked to come out. He's still on the floor, but still favoring the ankle.

Halftime, Rockets 62-40: Kyle Lowry closes another quarter with a big 3-ball. This time from 25 feet with 2.5 seconds left in the half to put the Rockets up, 62-40.

For a stretch, the Celtics simply looked like a team that couldn't execute, throwing the ball around the gym and turning it over seven times (for 10 points), but toward the end of the second quarter, they looked like one that was unraveling, drawing techs and going through mental lapses that put the Rockets on the free throw line 12 times in the quarter.

The highs:

Kevin Martin -- 19 points
Jordan Hill -- 8 rebounds
Kyle Lowry -- 6 assists

Second quarter, 1:42, Rockets 56-37: Sparks!

Kevin Garnett's found himself a target: Chuck Hayes. For a second it looked like it would be be Jordan Hill. But Garnett walked directly into Hayes's face, barked something at him. Hayes barked back.

Next thing you know, Glen Davis and Jordan Hill are going at it along the baseline and need to be separated.

Davis got a tech. Martin made the free throw. Garnett kept trying to get in Hayes's head, throwing a shoulder at him when no one was looking.

But none of it's stopping the Rockets from executing. They're up big, having knocked down 11-of-11 free throws this quarter.

Second quarter, 2:49, Rockets 51-37: Martin just drew a third foul on Ray Allen, getting him with a pump fake from at the 3-point line. Martin went to the foul line and knocked down two shots. Allen went to the bench, done for the half, as Delonte West checked in.

Second quarter 7:11, Rockets 38-30: So ... Brad Miller for $4.4 million or Jermaine O'Neal for $5.8 million?

Second quarter, 10:29, Rockets 30-24: The sight of Jordan Hill cramming one in off a drop step with Glen Davis under him, back to the hardwood, left Doc Rivers with no other choice but to call a timeout. Can't blame him.

End of first quarter, Rockets 25-22: The Celtics started feeding the post but didn't get much ot of it. Carlos Arroyo tried to drop down to Jeff Green three different times. Two led to turnovers, the other a miss. The Rocket closed the quarter on an 8-3 run capped by a 26-foot 3-pointer from the corner by Kyle Lowry. Houston's 11 for 22. There's an APB out on the Celtics' defense.

First quarter, 2:30, Rockets 20-19: It's hard to call it a slow start even though the Celtics started 1 for their first 6, but the Rockets are shooting 50 percent. With Chuck Hayes and Kevin Martin causing problems. Kevin Garnett's 4 for 6, and Paul Pierce is trying relentlessly to attack the rim and get to the free throw line (4 for 4).

First quarter, 6:48, Celtics 9-8: One difference from the first meeting: Kevin Martin. Ray Allen's chasing Martin around already. Paul Pierce went hard to the rack a couple different times expecting whistles, but no luck (he looked at a ref and rubbed his cheek after one, saying he was elbowed in the face). He got a layup on a hard drive that made it 8-7, then attacked again and dished to Nenad Krstic for a dunk that put the Celtics up

Pregame: The Celtics have lost two straight to the Rockets, but they've won four straight at the Toyota Center. One thing they have going for them, they don't have to worry about Aaron Brooks, who had a habit of going off against them.

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