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Rondo, Pierce Lead Celtics in Loss to Harden and Rockets

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Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce led the Celtics in all categories good and bad as the Celtics dropped the first of their three game road trip, 101-89, to the Rockets on Friday.

James Harden had 21 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists and Chandler Parsons had a near triple-double with 15 points, 8 assists and 9 rebounds for the youngest team in the NBA, the Rockets.

Rondo scored 15 points and dished out 13 assists, but turned the ball over 7 times. PierceĀ had 18 points and 7 rebounds, but connected on just 5 of his team-high 18 field goal attempts. Pierce also played a game-high 41 minutes on the first night of a back-to-back for the Celtics. The Celtics play the Spurs tomorrow in San Antonio.

The Celtics came out sluggish in this one, a game after winning in double overtime to the Mavericks. The Rockets started the game on a 17-4 run before the Celtics made a run of their own. Jeremy Lin turned the ball over three times, and the Rockets turned it over 10 times as a team in the second quarter, as the Celtics rode a 26 point quarter to a two point halftime lead.

The Second half was all Rockets as the Celtics didn’t look assertive enough on either end of the court to pull this one out. The Celtics appeared to leave their interior defense in Boston, as they let little known Rockets’ backup, Greg Smith, score 20 points on 8-for-9 shooting. The Celtics let the Rockets’ front court players shoot 67 percent from the field as a unit.

Kevin Garnett scored 15 points and grabbed 5 rebounds, while Jeff Green continued his strong play with 9 points and 7 rebounds off the Celtics’ bench. Jason Terry was moved to the bench to start this one because Doc Rivers wanted Courtney Lee to start the game on Harden. Terry responded with 12 points in a reserve role.

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