Final: Rockets 101-89: Not the way the Celtics wanted to start this three-game road trip. They looked uninterested in defense in the second half, allowing the Rockets to shoot 57.1 percent and hit seven 3-pointers. James Harden led Houston with 21 points. Paul Pierce had 18 on 5-for-18 shooting for the Celtics.
Fourth quarter, 2:52, Rockets 96-85: The Celtics are just killing themselves with silly mistakes and missed shots, and the Rockets are making them pay with the 3-point shot. Houston just canned its 10th of the game, a Toney Douglas special after a Rajon Rondo lazy pass was picked by Chandler Parsons for a fastbreak. Disappointing effort for the Celtics.
Fourth quarter, 7:42, Rockets 86-78: Greg Smith has been the story tonight with 20 points and six rebounds in 20 minutes. The Celtics are letting him roam around the basket and he is taking advantage of the soft defense with easy layups.
End of third quarter, Rockets 75-70: The Celtics appear cinched for one of those clunker defensive quarters and tonight it was the third. Houston was 11-for-18 shooting in the period and 4 of 5 from the 3-point line, leading by as many 9 before the Celtics rallied for the final 4 points. Paul Pierce leads Boston with 14 points but on 4-for-14 shooting. James Harden has a quiet 16 for Houston on 5-for-13 shooting.
Third quarter, 5:30, Rockets 63-56: The Celtics came out lethargic in the second half and the Rockets have hit 7 of 9 shots to create some distance. Chandler Parson and James Harden each have 13 points as the Rockets are closing in on one of those unwanted 30-point quarters. The Celtics have five turnovers in the quarter and committing seven in the first half.
Halftime, Celtics 45-43: The Celtics went cold after taking a 7-point lead at the 3:35 mark, scoring 4 points for the rest of the period, but they trailed by as many as 13 and their defense against Houston’s halfcourt offense is stifling. Paul Pierce scored all 12 of his points in the second quarter. But Greg Smith (11 points, 6 rebounds) is causing problems for the Celtics.
Second quarter, 2:26, Celtics 41-37: A stirring 18-2 run got the Celtics the lead as they contested every shot, forcing the Rockets into 4-for-15 shooting in the quarter. Paul Pierce has heated up with 11 points in the quarter. Rajon Rondo has six assists. Chandler Parsons and Greg Smith have 7 points for Houston.
Second quarter, 6:38, Tied at 32: The Rockets have cooled off while the Celtics are closing in but keep missing easy shots. But they are consistently getting defensive stops and Jason Terry just buried his second 3-pointer to tie the game. Amazingly the Celtics are shooting 33 percent. Houston is 2-for-7 shooting in the quarter.
End of first quarter, Rockets 27-19: The Celtics are lucky to be so close but they seemed to have figured something out defensively after giving up some early easy baskets. Kevin Garnett also came back into the game and drained a jumper after missing five of his first six. Courtney Lee leads the Celtics with 5 points while James Harden has 6 for Houston.
First quarter, 2:31, Rockets 23-13: The Rockets already have 6 fastbreak points and are pushing the ball at every opportunity. They are stretching the floor and moving the ball on pick-and-rolls, which is forcing the Celtics into scramble mode. Meanwhile, the offense is 6-for-18 shooting, including 1-for-6 from Garnett, who is on the bench. Courtney Lee has 5 points.
First quarter, 10:06, Rockets 6-2: It’s obvious the Rockets plan to run after every Boston miss because they have already had two runouts that have led to a dunk and two-shot foul. Kevin Garnett has had three good looks but converted just one.