Rockets hand Celtics 9th straight loss, 104-92

Rockets hand Celtics 9th straight loss, 104-92
January 13, 2014, 10:00 pm
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BOSTON — Unfortunately for the Boston Celtics, a return to familiar surroundings produced an all-too familiar result as the Celtics' losing skid lives on following a 104-92 loss to the Houston Rockets.

Boston (13-26) has now lost nine in a row while the Rockets (25-14) have now won four of their last five games.

Like most of their games this season, the Celtics certainly made things interesting.

After having trailed by 19 points going into the fourth quarter, the Celtics got Houston's lead down to single digits behind some timely baskets by Jerryd Bayless and some Hack-a-Dwight (Howard) fouling.

Boston intentionally fouled him six times, with him splitting the pair of free throws on each trip. Howard had 32 points and 10 rebounds while former Harvard star Jeremy Lin and James Harden each chipped in 16 points.

Bayless finished with 17 points for the Celtics which included 15 in the fourth quarter in what was his first game at the TD Garden as a member of the Boston Celtics.

Houston's control throughout most of the second half was a stark contrast to the game's beginnings.

The Celtics led by as many as nine points in the first half with Avery Bradley leading the way.

Boston's 6-foot-2 guard had 14 of his team-high 24 points in the first which ended with the Celtics ahead 27-19.

However, Houston's second unit sparked the Rockets to an 11-2 run to start the second quarter.

After a Jeff Green lay-up tied the game at 37 - one of just two field goals he made on a 2-for-10 shooting night - Houston responded with a furious 14-2 run to take a commanding 51-39 lead.

Boston closed out the quarter with a mini-spurt as Houston led 52-43 at the half.

Houston really took off in the third quarter as they surged ahead by as many as 20 points before taking a comfortable 84-65 lead into the fourth quarter.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, desperate for some kind of spark, inserted MarShon Brooks to start the fourth quarter.

Brooks, who spent five games with the Maine Red Claws of the Development League, had two points, five rebounds and an assist.