Rockets knock of Celtics, 101-89

After trailing the entire 4th quarter, Paul Pierce gave the Celtics signs of life with a big 3 that cut the Houston lead to 88-83.  On the next possession Rajon Rondo poked the ball away from James Harden and dove for the steal, but couldn't quit come up with it.  Harden then buried a deep three to stretch the lead back to 8 with 4:41 to go.  Boston would never get any closer.

Harden led the Rockets with 21 points, who also got 20 from reserve power forward Greg Smith (Greg Smith?).  Paul Pierce scored 18 for Boston, and Rondo added 15 points and 13 assists (but also had 7 turnovers).  The Celtics only shot 40% from the floor for the game, connecting on just 34 of 85 field goal attempts.

Houston jumped out to an early 17-4 lead, but Boston cut the deficit to 27-19 after the first quarter.  The C's cranked up their defense in the second quarter, at one point holding the Rockets scoreless for a stretch of 5:07.  A monster dunk by Jeff Green from Rajon Rondo, followed by a Jason Terry three-pointer, tied the game at 32.  The Celtics used an 18-2 run to build a 41-34 advantage, before settling for a 45-43 edge at halftime.

The Rockets offense bounced back in the 3rd, outscoring Boston 32-25 in the period to lead 75-70 after three.  The Celtics were unable to gain any ground in the 4th quarter.  Down 14 with two minutes to go, Doc Rivers went to the bench a little early in order to rest his starters for the Spurs tomorrow night.

Courtney Lee got the start at shooting guard against his former team (relegating Terry to his familiar 6th man role), and posted 8 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, and a block in 27 minutes of action.

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