The Celtics had a problem Tuesday night in Houston, and it came to light in a hurry. The Houston Rockets made it clear from the very get-go that this game was theirs to be had.
Houston came out of the gates guns blazing. And that might be an understatement. They shot an absurd 16-of-20 from the field in the first quarter. That performance was highlighted by a 5-of-7 showing from long range, which included five different Rockets shooting 1-of-1 from downtown.
It’s not as if the Celtics weren’t defending, either. Boston forced six turnovers in the first quarter and contested many of those 20 shots. Those contests, however, weren’t enough.
You know what it looks like when a player is ‘in the zone’? Think Kobe Bryant. Think LeBron James. Well, that’s what the entire Rockets team looked like during the first frame. They were hitting shots right in Boston’s eyes even if the Celtics didn’t give them any airspace. It was just that type of quarter.
All in all, eight of Houston’s players scored during the first period. Terrence Jones led the way with 11 points which arrived via a 5-of-5 shooting performance from the field. The Rockets tallied 40 points in the first quarter, leading by as many as 22, and cruised from that point to their eighth win of the season.
Key Box Score Line
It’s becoming high fashion for little-known Rockets players to have breakout games against the Celtics. Greg Smith did it last season, and Terrence Jones did it Tuesday night.
Smith dropped in 20 points on 8-of-9 shooting against the Celtics on Dec. 14, 2012. Jones one-upped him Tuesday night at the Toyota Center by logging a game-high 24 points on 10-of-12 shooting. That total nearly doubled the second-year forward’s previous career high, which was 14 points.
Jones’ performance didn’t stop there. He also hauled in nine rebounds, blocked two shots and finished with a plus-20 in the plus/minus category in 27 minutes of action. Not a bad night.
Box Score Nuggets
- The Celtics attempted an incredible 99 shots in the game, 27 more than the Rockets.
- All five of Houston's starters, as well as its sixth man, scored in double-figures.
- The Celtics grabbed 18 offensive rebounds but converted those boards into only 24 second-chance points.
- Courtney Lee excelled off the bench for Boston, scoring a team-high 17 points.
- Jared Sullinger narrowly missed a double-double with 10 points and nine boards.
- Dwight Howard accounted for the game's only double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
- Houston and Boston went toe-to-toe over the final three quarters, with the Rockets holding a 69-67 advantage over those 36 minutes.
- Avery Bradley attempted 22 shots, while the other four Boston starters combined to attempt just 29.
- The Celtics outscored the Rockets by 16 points during Phil Pressey's 21 minutes of action.
- Terrence Jones scored a game-high 24 points on 10-of-12 shooting.
Quote of the Night
Guys can take it one of two ways when adversity strikes: You can go inward or you can come together, and the most encouraging sign was the last quarter we played pretty well. I thought we played pretty hard, pretty well. It was our subs against their subs, and I thought we moved the ball. I thought we shared it. Brad Stevens on responding to a difficult loss