For the second consecutive game, the Boston Celtics came out on the road and defeated another Western Conference powerhouse. The Houston Rockets--who are currently riding a 4 game losing streak--couldn't handle the Celtics's third quarter (32-13), which led to an easy 111-95 win. The Celtics are two games over .500 for the first time in Stevens' tenure as head coach.
Isaiah Thomas led the way for the C’s with 23 points, while Avery Bradley (21) and Jae Crowder (16) were also in double figures. The Celtics surprisingly started off strong with an 8-2 lead, but their offense stalled at the 5:21 mark with the Celtics not hitting another field goal until there was 30 seconds left in the quarter. Fortunately for the Celtics, they were only down by 4 points.
It got much worst when the Rockets stormed out to a 14-3 run to start the second quarter. It looked like the Rockets would pull away for good, but substituting Marcus Smart and Isaiah cut a 15 point deficit down to just six. Houston bumped it back to 13 but the Celtics were active with their hands by getting four steals in two minutes. This propelled the Celtics to quickly take the lead but Trevor Ariza's buzzer beater had both teams tied at 55-55 heading into halftime.
The third quarter was all Boston which started the onslaught. They wore down Houston with their stellar defense as the green team got 5 steals in the period, and Houston refused to dive for any loose ball which only helped the Celtics breakout the game. Their lazy defense gave Boston great looks which they converted (13-24 for the quarter), leading to a 32-13 quarter for Boston and a 19 point lead going into the 4th.
In the fourth quarter, the Celtics pushed out their lead to as much as 29 points, but former Celtic Marcus Thornton made the scoreboard look more respectable as he scored 8 points in garbage time.
Marcus Smart didn't shoot the ball well from the field (1-11), but he impacted winning in a tremendous way, evident with a +/- of +30. He dominated the game in other areas with 5 steals, 6 assists and a team high 9 rebounds.
MVP runner-up James Harden was held to only 16 points on 4-of-10 shooting, thanks to some stiff defense from the trio of Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder.
This back-to-back was one of the more challenging ones for the C's, but were able to get the victory and have now won 4 out of their last 5 games in a seven day stretch. The Celtics will be back at the TD Garden to host the Dallas Mavericks, then will have a home-and-home series against the awful Brooklyn Nets.