Celtics Fall to Rockets in Game of Runs

ORLANDO – In a game of runs, it was the Houston Rockets that outlasted the Boston Celtics Wednesday afternoon en route to an 85-78 victory in Orlando. Houston’s win allowed it to remain unbeaten in summer league play.

The Celtics jumped out to an early 13-6 lead but the Rockets finished the first quarter on an 18-4 run. That spurt put Houston on top 24-17 heading into the second frame.

Things continued to go Houston’s way at the start of the second period, as it scored seven of the quarter’s first nine points. By the time this contest hit the 5:40 mark of the second quarter, the Rockets had pulled ahead by 16 points.

And then it was Boston’s turn to make a run.

Following a timeout, the Celtics burst onto the floor with defensive energy that sparked their game at the other end. They went on to score the game’s next 16 points to tie the game up at 39-39 with 1:58 remaining in the first half. Six different Celtics scored during the run, led by four points from forward Tim Abromaitis.

Houston managed to regain some form before the half came to a close. Greg Smith and Jake Cooley each made shots in the paint to help the Rockets take a 43-40 lead into the locker room.

The Rockets opened up the second half on an 8-0 run and they never looked back from there. Led by seven points from second-year forward Terrence Jones, Houston outscored Boston 24-16 in the third quarter and took a 67-56 lead into the final period.

Facing a double-digit deficit heading into the fourth quarter, it would have been easy for the Celtics to quit. However, head coach Jay Larranaga rallied his troops for one more run.

Boston went toe-to-toe with Houston throughout the fourth quarter, then put together a quick 11-2 run in the final minutes that made things very interesting. Lawrence Hill capped that run with a 3-pointer that made it an 81-78 game with 26.9 seconds remaining. Sadly, Boston’s run came up short as Jones and Casper Ware nailed two free throws apiece to seal the win for Houston.

Despite falling to 2-2 on the week, the Celtics could take some positives from Wednesday’s game. Kelly Olynyk provided another phenomenal performance by notching his first double-double with game-highs of 19 points and 10 rebounds. Phil Pressey also played well in a starting role, dishing out a game-high 10 assists to go along with a game-high three steals.

Four Rockets scored in double-figures, led by Jones’ 17 points. Robert Covington provided a double-double off of the bench that consisted of 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Boston will be idle on Thursday as the rest of the league’s teams complete their four-game schedules. Thursday’s results will determine the seeding for Friday’s Championship Day. Check back on Celtics.com for updated scheduling information, or follow the Celtics on Twitter for instant updates.