By Jessica Camerato
BOSTON -- Aaron Brooks looked up at the numbers hanging in the rafters.
Then he stared across the court at the names on his opponents jerseys.
He soaked it all in . . . and attacked.
Brooks scored 24 points on Monday night against the Boston Celtics, bringing his total at the TD Garden to 54 over the past two seasons. The offensive spark is no coincidence.
Theyve got all those numbers up in the rafters, he said. Sooner or later, theyre going to add 9, 34, 5, and 20. So I want to be able to say, Hey, those guys up there, I beat them at least once or twice.
The Rockets beat the Celtics, 108-102, extending their streak in Boston to three straight wins.
They were led by Brooks and Kyle Lowry (17 points), who teamed up to pester the Celtics with a backcourt duo that both got in the paint and found the open man on the wing.
By the end of the night, the undersized guards had made a major impact.
They always looked to attack, said Nate Robinson. As small guards, youve got to play with chips like that. Youve always got to use your ability to your advantage, and they did that.
Rather than trying to beat the Celtics with individual efforts, Brooks and Lowry played off each other and formed a two-headed monster of sorts.
Weve got two guys in their creating and shooting the ball, said Brooks. As long as Kyle can guard the two-man, that makes us really dangerous because Kyle can rebound the ball down there . . . We just wanted to get in the middle and kick it out to our shooters. I think we both did a good job of finishing in the paint so they have to respect that.
Brooks knocked down five three-pointers while Lowry shot a perfect eight-for-eight from the free-throw line. When they werent scoring, the pair was getting their teammates open looks. Lowry dished eight assists and Brooks added five.
This ball movement helped the Rockets shoot 50 percent (10-for-20) from 3-point range and score 30 points from behind the arc, including three treys by Chase Budinger. The Celtics entered the game holding their opponents to 34.4 from three-point range.
The Celtics are one of the best defensive teams out there, so youve got to pick your spots and when you get an open look, you have to take it, said Budinger, who scored 24 points (6-for-8 3PG) against the Celtics last season. You cant second-guess yourself. You cant try to create for another person because they only will give you that one opportunity when youre open. I think we did a good job of that tonight at finding our spots and everybody took spots when theyre open.
Ray Allen agreed. The Celtics defense struggled to challenge the Rockets looks at the basket.
They just moved the ball, Allen said. They moved the ball and they got to their spots. I dont think at any time we made them kind of veer off of the path that they were set. Offenses are designed to you cut here, go here, you have your shot, screen, whatever. The whole time we kind of let them go to their spots.
There are a handful of backcourt match ups dubbed as the ones to watch every season, headlined by stars like Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose. Brooks and Lowry arent exactly at the top of the list, but after teaming up to tackle the Celtics, they showed they should have been watched more closely.
Weve got a good backcourt, Lowry told CSNNE.com. Weve got an awesome backcourt, to me. I think we have one of the top backcourts in the NBA.
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