Celtics lose a heartbreaker in Houston, 107-106

Man, that was a tough loss for the Celtics as they couldn't get a bucket to fall in the final seconds and lose a nail biter, 107-106 to the Rockets.

The Celts had trouble finding their three point shot in the first half. Taking on one of the best shooting teams in the NBA means that you have to have your shot going for you. Houston went on a 13-0 run in the first quarter that saw the Celts down nine points going into the 2nd quarter. They found a little bit of their shot at the beginning of the quarter thanks to some Jaylen Brown buckets but the Rockets had an answer with James Harden heating up from the three point line and getting to the charity stripe at ease.

The Houston Rockets took a 10 point lead into halftime, as the Celts trailed 58-48. Harden had 21 first half points for the Rockets and got to the free throw line 11 times in the half. For Boston, Isaiah Thomas led halftime scorers with 11 points.

The second half saw a determined Boston team come out of the gates, shooting the ball with relative ease. Jae Crowder, Jonas Jerebo, Al Horford, and Avery Bradley all hit threes to help Boston go on a 20-9 run in the third that helped them retake the lead, 68-67 midway through the third. Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart gave James Harden all the trouble he could handles the superstar guard turned the ball over consistently and the turnovers turned into easy buckets for Boston.

Boston outscored the Rockets 35-19 in the third and they took an 83-77 lead going into the final quarter.

In the fourth, the Rockets woke up a little bit as they went shot for shot with the Celts going up the floor. Eric Gordon and Montrezl Harrell provided some great energy and hustle points off the bench for Houston as tried to cut their deficit. Marcus Smart and Al Horford led the surge for Boston on the scoring end. However, with under five minutes to go in the game, the Rockets defense stepped up as Patrick Beverely caused some turnovers and in addition, Harden continued getting to the line.

With under three to go, Houston took a 102-100 lead after a Harrell dunk but the Cs quickly tied it up with a Bradley basket. With just under a minute to go, down by two points, the Celtics needed a stop but Harden used a pick to free himself up at the top of the arc for a three to put the Rockets up 107-102 with 54 seconds left. Out of the timeout, Bradley hit what seemed like a three initially, but later reviewed to be a two which made it 107-104. After a good defensive stance against Harden, Bradley couldn't track down the ball but Smart and AB trapped Harden in the corner and Harden elbowed Smart in the face, which the refs called an offensive foul. The foul was also deemed a flagrant and Smart went to the line and nailed both of his free throws and the Celtics had possession, down 107-106. Thomas tried to lay a bucket in but couldn't. Luckily, Horford battled on the boards and with Harden slapping it out of bounds, Boston had one last shot to win the game with 5 seconds left. Horford took the ball to the basket and had what was a wide open layup and it laid on the rim for a good 2 seconds and it just wouldn't go in.

Tough tough loss for the Celtics as they had it under control and had some lucky bounces go their way but the last one they needed, wouldn't go for them. For the Celts, Al Horford led all scorers with 21 points, 6 rebounds, 9 assists and 2 blocks. Isaiah Thomas had 20 points of his own and Avery Bradley contributed another double double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Marcus Smart led the bench unit with 13 points and Jae Crowder also chipped in 12 points and 5 assists. For the Rockets, James Harden led all scorers with 37 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists and 10 turnovers. Trevor Ariza had a strong outing with 15 points and 8 rebounds. Eric Gordon once again led their bench unit with 19 points and 4 threes off the bench.

The Celtics now stand at 12-9 and are off to Orlando to take on the Magic on Wednesday. Tipoff is set for 7:00pm E/T.

Image Credit: Boston Celtics Twitter/Getty Images
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