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Celtics Come up Short Against Lowly Rockets

Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce (34) is upended by Houston Rockets forward Shane Battier, right, during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Monday, Jan. 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

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.

C’s Stud of the Game: Rajon Rondo

Rondo’s 12 assists greatly facilitated ball movement, and helped keep Boston in much of the game. The next highest total for Boston? Three.

C’s Dud of the Game: Luke Harangody

In 10:10, Harangody got two boards, but also missed his only two shot attempts, one of them being blocked.

Game Notes:

  • Scoring Leaders: Aaron Brooks (HOU 24), Marquis Daniels (BOS 19), Ray Allen (BOS 19)
  • Field Goal Leaders: Ray Allen (BOS 8/13), Aaron Brooks (HOU 8/15), Marquis Daniels (BOS 7/8)
  • Three Point Leaders: Aaron Brooks (HOU 5/8), Chase Budinger (HOU 3/4), Ray Allen (BOS 2/2), Paul Pierce (BOS 2/5)
  • Free Throw Leaders: Kyle Lowry (HOU 8/8), Marquis Daniels (BOS 5/5), three others with four
  • Rebound Leaders: Luis Scola (HOU 9), Jordan Hill (HOU 8), Marquis Daniels (BOS 7), Ray Allen (BOS 7)
  • Assist Leaders: Rajon Rondo (BOS 12), Kyle Lowry (HOU 8), Aaron Brooks (HOU 5)
  • Steal Leaders: Luis Scola (HOU 4), Glen Davis (BOS 4), Rajon Rondo (BOS 3)
  • Block Leaders: six with one
  • Foul-outs: none
  • Technical Fouls: Jermaine O’Neal (BOS, 9:57 left in 4th)
  • Turnovers: HOU 15, BOS 14

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