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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Celtics Show No Signs Of Slowing Down, Win Their Fifth Straight Game

Over the summer and during the preseason when people talked about this being Boston's deepest team in years, this is what they imagined, not the struggles of November and December. For the second game in a row, the Celtics' (19-17, 12-6 home) bench was superb as they helped them beat the Rockets (21-16, 7-10 away) 103-91 at TD Garden.

Boston avenged a 101-89 loss in Houston on December 14 and picked up their fifth straight victory just for fun. The Celts pretty much led wire to wire, however they almost blew a 17-point lead (62-45) from the third quarter as the Rockets cut it to 83-81 in the fourth but the C's hit them with a 12-1 run to end it.

Paul Pierce led the home team with 23 points and six rebounds, Kevin Garnett had 17 points, eight rebounds and four blocks and Rajon Rondo put up 12 points and eight assists. Avery Bradley scored seven points but his real contribution was holding James Harden to 24 points and five assists, seriously. That ended Harden's streak of 14 straight games with 25+ points.

Jared Sullinger had another double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds, Courtney Lee added 14 points while Jeff Green scored nine.

Chandler Parsons had 18 points for the Rockets while Harvard's Jeremy Lin notched 12 points, six assists, five rebounds and three steals. Omer Asik had seven points and 11 rebounds but a 1 for 8 night at the free throw line took the shine off his work.

Free throw shooting was a teamwide epidemic for Houston, they went 12 for 29 so that was the primary reason why they lost. I can't ever remember an NBA team having that kind of wretched performance. It was stunning, especially since they entered shooting 76% as a team. The Celtics also shot 8.1% better than the Rockets (51.9-43.8%) from the field which was the other main theme of the game.

Boston gets the weekend off then they basically get Monday off as well since the Bobcats (9-26, 4th in Southeast Division) come to TD Garden (7:30 p.m., CSN) in the third game of a five-game homestand for the C's. Charlotte played well at the beginning of the season but it's been all downhill from there, they are still one of the NBA's worst teams.

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