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You would think the Rockets wouldn’t pose a challenge to the mighty Celtics, but there you go. Boston dropped the game, at home no less, to the Yao-less Rockets 108-102. Boston got a 9-4 lead early, which was their biggest of the night. Houston responded by getting the next seven. They danced back and forth until Houston took the lead 16-15, at which point nobody scored for 2:42. Houston then extended their lead, and Boston’s early comeback attempt was incomplete; Houston led 27-22 after the 1st.
After some back-and-forth, Boston came roaring back to tie the game at 33. Ray Allen, Nate Robinson and Jermaine O’Neal teased getting Boston back into things with a run, but it was not to be. The Rockets were allowed to score counter buckets of their own, and Boston just couldn’t hold the lead. After allowing a few free throw appearances toward the end of the half, Houston led 50-49 at said half.
The 3rd quarter was yet another struggle for Boston to maintain a run. They took a quick five-point lead, but lost it just as quickly. More getting close, and more Houston pulling back away. Simply put Boston could not get it going, and one last bucket for Houston put them up six going into the final frame.
Houston jumped out to a 10-point lead, and from there, it was a game of cat-and-mouse, with both teams trading buckets. Thanks to a couple of threes in that mix, the Rockets went up 12, 106-94, with 3:13 left. Boston reduced it back to four with 27.2 seconds left, but there was just not enough time left to solidify the last run.
Rondo’s 12 assists greatly facilitated ball movement, and helped keep Boston in much of the game. The next highest total for Boston? Three.
In 10:10, Harangody got two boards, but also missed his only two shot attempts, one of them being blocked.