Ford Keys to the Game: Celtics 77, Rockets 93
Celtics 77, Rockets 93
The Celtics suffered their second-worst loss of the season tonight, a 93-77 setback at the hands of the Houston Rockets - they lost by 17 to the Suns on Jan. 18 - and there was no doubt about the eventual result from as early as the second quarter. Boston trailed nearly the entire game and its latest lead of the contest was a 21-20 advantage in the first period.
Houston came out of the gates shooting lights out, particularly the team’s two perimeter sharpshooters, Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin. Those two teamed up to score 35 points in the first half alone. Martin, who finished with a game-high 25 points, was the key cog in the quick spurt that put this game away in the second quarter.
With tensions beginning to rise as the Rockets began to pull away midway through the second period, Martin drained a 3-pointer with 4:22 remaining to put his team ahead 47-33. He then drew two consecutive shooting fouls on Houston’s next two possessions and drained all four of the free throws.
Boston trailed by 14 points after those freebies, and that put the C’s in a bad mood. Kevin Garnett and Chuck Hayes were whistled for double-technicals shortly after Martin’s free throws, and Glen Davis was called for a tech just three seconds after that. Davis had been shoved into the baseline seats by Jordan Hill, and he popped back up and ran in Hill’s direction to convey his distaste for the play. Martin went on to hit the free throw to put the Rockets ahead by 15.
Just 35 seconds after that spurt of technical fouls, after Garnett turned the ball over at the other end, Martin drew yet another shooting foul, this time on KG. Per usual, the 87 percent free throw shooter drilled both of his attempts. Those free throws put Houston ahead 54-37 with 2:10 remaining in the half, but the run wasn’t over.
Hill went on to make two free throws as well, and Martin sank another pretty jumper off of a Lowry assist with 1:19 remaining to bump the lead up to 21. He also tacked on another technical free throw after the C’s were whistled for an illegal defense foul, and Lowry closed out the half by banging home a 3-pointer with two seconds left on the clock.
All in all, it was an 18-7 run to close out the half, and Martin accounted for 13 of those points. Interestingly enough, 10 of Houston’s points during that run came from the free-throw line, nine of which were in succession. The spurt to close out the half gave Houston a 62-40 lead at halftime, and Boston never made it a game from that point on.
Key Box Score Line
On a night in which the starters simply couldn’t make any semblance of an impact on the game, Glen Davis stepped up with one of his grittiest performances of the season.
Davis, who played a team-high 31 minutes tonight, scored 16 points off of the bench to go along with a team-high seven rebounds. He was on a mission in the fourth quarter to keep his team afloat and not allow his new teammates to quit, and he succeeded in that light. His hustle, continual energy and relentless attacking of the basket helped the Celtics win the fourth quarter by a count of 21-12.
If it wasn’t for Davis’ performance, this ugly loss could have been much worse. He came in and led by example, both in attitude and in production. That’s about all you can ask for from one of your reserves on a night like tonight, where the C’s simply didn’t have enough in the tank to make this one a game.
Box Score Nuggets
- Two Rockets, Kevin Martin with 25 points and Kyle Lowry with 20, scored at least 20 points while no Celtics reached that mark.
- Boston was outrebounded 44-35.
- Houston attempted 22 3-pointers to Boston's 10. The Rockets made eight, and the Celtics made one.
- Chuck Hayes (11 points and 11 rebounds) and Patrick Patterson (18 points and 12 rebounds) earned the game's only doube-doubles.
- Boston's starters combined to score only 38 points.
- Jeff Green scored a team-high 17 points, and Glen Davis totaled 16.
- Houston shot 21-of-23 from the free-throw line, including an 11-of-12 performance by Martin.
- Lowry shot 4-of-7 from 3-point range.
- The Celtics committed only 13 turnovers.
- Houston committed 16 turnovers, six of which came from Martin.
- Green's 17 points matched the scoring output of Houston's entire bench.
- Davis was the only Celtic to grab more than five rebounds.
Quote of the Night
Paul Pierce's reaction to his team's defensive performance: "We have to wake up as a team and decide if we want to play Celtic defense or not.”