Tune in to TNT at 8:30 PM E.T. Tuesday night when the Rockets face the Celtics.
(Bill Baptist/NBAE/Getty Images)

SECAUCUS, N.J., March 19, 2008 -- After an astounding 22-game win streak, the Rockets' dream to catch the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers, who ran off a streak of 33 straight victories, has ended. The Boston Celtics handed the Rockets their first loss since Jan. 27, defeating Houston on their home court 94-74 on Tuesday, March 18. Despite the loss, the Rockets' run will go down in the record books as the second longest streak in NBA history.

Houston broke the tie with the Bucks (20) on Friday when when they won in Charlotte, 89-80. Then the Rockets beat the modern incarnation of the Lakers on Sunday, 104-92 to continue their run towards the record.

If Tracy McGrady and company did continue their winning ways, they would have had a chance to draw even with the 33-game mark on April 6 in L.A. against the Clippers and then could have set the new standard for a hot streak in professional basketball if they defeated the Sonics in Houston on April 9.

While it's fun to look at what could have been, it's also worth looking back at the 22-game stretch that the Rockets just completed. There are a few interesting parallels between Houston's recent run and Milwaukee's run of 20 in a row 27 years ago.

The Bucks and the Rockets started their streaks after the New Year, win No. 1 in both cases came against the Warriors and win No. 6 in both cases came against the Hawks.

One could argue that Milwaukee's streak was more impressive because it included 10 road games, compared to only seven for the Rockets and because the Bucks' average margin of victory was 18.4 against a 12.3 average victory margin for the Rockets.

Then again, the Rockets' run is nothing to scoff at as they've come out victorious against Chris Paul and the Hornets twice, LeBron James and the Cavs twice as well as Golden State, Washington, Dallas and New Jersey - all teams who would make the playoffs if the postseason started today.

Here's a breakdown of the Rockets' and Bucks' streaks side by side and coverage around the Web reacting to Houston's achievement:


PHOTOS
Rockets Photos: Rockets Win Streak
Rockets photos: Dancers
Rockets Photos: Win 22
Rockets Photos: Rafer Alston
Rockets Photos: Celtics Team
Rockets Photos: Celtics History
Rockets Photos: Kevin Garnett
2007-08 HOUSTON ROCKETS
Current Record: 44-20 (.688)
WIN
1970-71 MILWAUKEE BUCKS
NBA Record: 66-16 (.805)
DATE
VS
RESULT
REC
STR
DIFF
AVG DIFF
#
DATE
VS
RESULT
REC
STR
DIFF
AVG DIFF
1/29 GSW W 111-107 25-20 W1 +4 4.0 1 2/6 @ SFW W 111-85 46-11 W1 +26 26.0
2/1 @ IND W 106-103 26-20 W2 +3 3.5 2 2/8 PHX W 118-94 47-11 W2 +24 25.0
2/2 @ MIL W 91-83 27-20 W3 +8 5.0 3 2/9 @ DET W 107-106 48-11 W3 +1 17.0
2/4 @ MIN W 92-86 28-20 W4 +6 7.0 4 2/11 LAL W 122-88 49-11 W4 +34 21.3
2/7 CLE W 92-77 29-20 W5 +15 7.2 5 2/13 CHI W 103-96 50-11 W5 +7 18.4
2/9 ATL W 108-89 30-20 W6 +18 9.0 6 2/14 @ ATL W 124-88 51-11 W6 +36 21.3
2/11 POR W 91-83 31-20 W7 +8 8.9 7 2/16 @ BUF W 135-103 52-11 W7 +32 22.9
2/13 SAC W 89-87 32-20 W8 +2 8.0 8 2/17 PHI W 119-114 53-11 W8 +5 20.6
2/19 @ CLE W 93-85 33-20 W9 +8 8.0 9 2/19 @ SEA W 128-112 54-11 W9 +16 20.1
2/21 MIA W 112-100 34-20 W10 +12 8.4 10 2/20 @ SFW W 104-96 55-11 W10 +8 18.9
2/22 @ NOH W 100-80 35-20 W11 +20 9.5 11 2/21 @ PHX W125-97 56-11 W11 +28 19.7
2/24 CHI W 110-97 36-20 W12 +13 9.8 12 2/23 SFW W 118-107 57-11 W12 +11 19.0
2/26 WAS W 94-69 37-20 W13 +25 10.9 13 2/24 SDC W 139-104 58-11 W13 +35 20.2
2/29 MEM W 116-95 38-20 W14 +21 11.6 14 2/26 CIN W 135-111 59-11 W14 +24 20.5
3/2 DEN W 103-89 39-20 W15 +14 11.8 15 2/28 @ BOS W 111-99 60-11 W15 +12 19.9
3/5 CLE W 117-99 40-20 W16 +18 12.2 16 3/1 PHI W 127-103 61-11 W16 +24 20.2
3/6 @ DAL W 113-98 41-20 W17 +15 12.4 17 3/3 LAL W 112-97 62-11 W17 +15 19.9
3/8 NOH W 106-96 42-20 W18 +10 12.2 18 3/4 BUF W 116-113 63-11 W18 +12 19.4
3/10 NJN W 91-73 43-20 W19 +18 12.5 19 3/5 @ DET W 108-95 64-11 W19 +13 19.1
3/12 SEA W 83-75 44-20 W20 +8 12.3 20 3/8 SEA W 104-99 65-11 W20 +5 18.4

REC: The team's overall record after that day's game.
DIFF: The game's point differential.
AVG DIFF: The streak's average point differential after that day's game.

WHAT WE'RE SAYING:

NBA.com's John Schuhmann: D is for Dominant

"It was the unstoppable force against the immovable object. You can choose which one the Celtics were, but they're the one that won the battle.Decidedly.

The Houston Rockets' 22-game winning streak, the second longest streak in NBA history, is over. And it shouldn't be any surprise that it was the Boston Celtics who ended it. One night after coming back from 22 points down in San Antonio, the Celtics showed us that there is no doubt that they are the best team in basketball."

NBA.com's John Schuhmann: Texas Triangle- Celtics-Rockets LIve Blog

"The Celtics made a statement tonight. They thoroughly dominated the hottest team in the last 36 years of NBA basketball. And when you combine that with a huge win the night before, how can you not say that this team is the favorite to win it all?"

NBA.com's John Schuhmann: Texas Triangle- Celtics-Rockets Preview

"Game 2 of the Triangle has the Celtics visting the Rockets (9:30 p.m. ET, TNT), who have won 22 straight games overall and 15 straight at the Toyota Center. It's a matchup of the top team in the East vs. the top team in the West, and not coincidentally, the two best defensive teams in the league."

NBA.com's Rob Peterson: Coach of the Year Rankings - Adelman No. 2

"Remember the scene in Jurassic Park where Steven Spielberg cut to the shot of the T-Rex in the Jeep's sideview mirror (about 2:38) with the words: OBJECTS IN THE MIRROR ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR. Rick Adelman is the T-Rex, and Byron Scott is the Jeep. "

NBA.com's Maurice Brooks: Race to the MVP - McGrady No. 7

"Heíll win the MVP if: the Rockets win all of their games to end the season on an all-time best 38-game winning streak. OK, the chances of that happening arenít likely, but McGrady is going to get a vote or two for having Houston in position to challenge for the top spot in the West. He has to overcome the fact that he has missed 15 games this season and was playing second fiddle to Yao for most of the year."

NBA.com's John Schuhmann: Power Rankings - Rockets No. 1

"They beat the Lakers, and for that, they're rewarded with the Celtics (home), Hornets, Warriors and Suns (all away) this week. If this streak reaches 26, anybody who writes an anti-Rockets e-mail will be forced to watch the April 11 game between the Grizzlies and Heat ... 10 times in a row."

NBA.com's Dave McMenamin: Rookie Rankings - Scola No. 4, Landry No. 7

"Scola is the classic example of function trumping form. His jump shot is as ugly as a Mississippi paddlefish, his body looks more lumpy than long and lean and his haircut makes you think he should be playing tennis. But, as I've been saying all year long, he flat out gets the job done...

Landry would have moved up even further if it wasn't for a bruised right knee that's kept him out of the Rockets lineup for their last two games. He may not win Rookie of the Year, but he has set himself up to enter the 'Second Round Pick Turned Impact Player Club' currently occupied by Gilbert Arenas, Carlos Boozer, Daniel Gibson, Kyle Korver and Paul Millsap amongst others. "

WHAT THE MEDIA IS SAYING

Houston Chronicle, March 19: Rockets' streak not diminished by its ending
"TWENTY-two games. Forty-eight days. No apologies. Nothing that happened Tuesday night changes anything.

The Rockets ran into an opponent with more talent, resolve and energy. They had no answer for Boston's depth or defense. They had no heroes and were beaten badly 94-74." -- Richard Justice

The New York Times, March 19: Rocketsí Surprising Streak Runs Out of Fuel
"Through 22 games and 49 days of unabated success, the Houston Rockets created a new identity, basked in it and spent each day trying to make it last through one more. They rarely paused to ponder the whys and hows or where the joyride might end." -- Howard Beck
The Boston Globe, March 18: Houston may have a problem
"Paul Pierce is looking forward to enjoying a rare night when the target isn't on his team's back.

The Rockets hope to extend their winning streak to 23 games when they face the Celtics tonight at the Toyota Center in Houston. Only the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers, winners of 33 straight games, have won more regular-season NBA games in a row.

With the league's best record, the Celtics will bring a stiff challenge to the hot Rockets for this nationally televised contest (TNT)." -- Marc J. Spears

Houston Chronicle, March 18: Stern Impressed By Rockets
"What I really want to ask David Stern is if he loves these Rockets as much as I do.

I just had to figure how to ask the question in a way that didn't make me sound like a complete homer. That's what I am, but it's important to maintain appearances." -- Richard Justice

Houston Chronicle, March 17: Battier is face of historic run
"If this keeps up, Shane Battier won't be the most unappreciated NBA player. Pretty soon the whole world will know what you and I have known for a while.

This is one terrific basketball player. Tough and smart and fearless. Absolutely relentless. Part of history." -- Richard Justice

Houston Chronicle, March 13: Ugly? This Win Was a Masterpiece

"Defense and hustle and poise kept the Rockets in a game they shouldn't have been in. Down the stretch, it was Chuck Hayes and Luis Scola scoring with offensive rebounds that got the Rockets some breathing room.

It was Shane Battier making Joe Johnson work for every shot, and Hayes going after every loose ball, every rebound.

And then Tracy McGrady finished it off, doing what great players are supposed to do, what he has done again and again the last two months." -- Richard Justice

New York Newsday, March 13: Why the Rockets are This Good

"Hired at 35 with a computer science degree from Northwestern and an MBA from M.I.T., Morey lacked the PhD in NBA. But his "Moneyball" approach has worked, and the Knicks should be considering someone of his ilk if and when they replace Isiah Thomas." -- Ken Berger

Baltimore Sun, March 13: Houston Rockets in Rarified Air

"Like just about everyone else who keeps an eye on the NBA, I figured when Yao Ming made his usual early exit that the Houston Rockets would pretty much pack it in, especially since they play in the Western Conference, where you could win 60 percent of your games and still not make the playoffs." -- Bill Ordine

Toronto Star, March 13: Morey's 'Moneyball' Approach Paying Off

"It's far too early to tell not only how serious a championship threat the Rockets can be, but how influential Morey's stat-engrossed approach can become. He has said the Rockets have invested millions in everything from the massive computer servers required to store the hours and hours of digital video from which statistical trends are mined, to the analysts who do the prospecting. And if Morey has hit on something revolutionary, nobody is expecting him to share the wealth of proprietary data." -- Dave Feshuk

Houston Chronicle, March 12: Good and Twenty

"Theirs is just a regular-season accomplishment, but it is an accomplishment that puts the Rockets in company with the greatest teams and players there have ever been. When other teams put runs together and the charts start coming out of the greatest winning streaks in NBA history, these Rockets will be there, again and again, as it has been for the Lakers and Bucks of another generation." -- Jonathan Feigen

WHAT MULTI-SPORT WEBSITES ARE SAYING

ESPN.com, March 19: Rockets' Remarkable Streak At An End
"It was the second-longest winning streak in NBA history, but the streak itself was somewhat of an afterthought in each locker room following the game. Instead, the hot topic was the way the Celtics dominated the second half of a game that was tied after two quarters." -- Chris Sheridan

FOX Sports.com, March 17: Rockets make all the right moves to extend streak

"In the end-game, Rick Adelman went small with Jackson and Alston in the backcourt, Battier and T-Mac at the forwards, and Luis Scola at center. That's four 3-point specialists plus one plugger. As a result, some snappy pass-work created clean looks from just about everywhere in addition to unattended driving lanes." -- Charley Rosen

ESPN.com, March 17: Catching 22: Rockets Greats Revel In Streak

"Not since Jan. 27 have the Rockets lost a game, and the 12-point victory Sunday represented the 14th time in the past 18 games they had won by double digits. Houston has gone 31-3 in its past 34 games to move from out of the playoff picture in the hypercompetitive West to atop the entire conference. " -- Chris Sheridan

ESPN.com, March 13: Twenty Story: The Worst Win, The Best Of Times

"Part of being a great team is the ability to win when you're not at your best.

And Wednesday night, the Rockets were most definitely not at their best. Houston trailed by double digits five minutes into the game, scored a season-low 32 points in the first half, and shot 33 percent from the field and 65 percent from the free-throw line. Yet for the 20th time in a row, they won, beating Atlanta 83-75. " -- John Hollinger

FOX Sports.com, March 11: Hey Rockets -- Sorry I Wrote You Off

"Nobody could have seen this coming when they were struggling to stay over .500 before the first of the year. But by the end of January, they gained the kind of momentum that few teams ever find. They havenít lost since Jan. 27 to the Utah Jazz and since Jan. 4, they are 28-3, winning 23 of 24 and going from 10th in the West to just a game out of first (they are in third)." -- Mike Kahn

ESPN.com, March 13: Rookie Watch: Another Rockets rookie turning heads

"Luis Scola has had such an impact on the Rockets this season that he deserves to be No. 1 on our list for at least one week. And like Al Horford, our previous No. 1, Scola does things to help his team win that do not show up on any stat sheet. Consider the Rockets' first basket against the Nets on Monday night: Scola set three screens, tried to set two more but was turned down by a teammate (meaning the dribbler drove opposite the screen), and then made a beautiful post move for an easy bucket after an effective post up and attack dribble. There's not another rookie in this class who would be as productive and meaningful for Houston as Scola is, and his role in the Rockets' 19-game winning streak deserves some recognition." -- David Thorpe

CBS Sportsline.com, March 12: Always Overlooked, Houston Coach Adelman Just Continues to Win

"Quick. Name the top 15 coaches of all-time in the NBA. You probably thought of Red Auerbach and Pat Riley and Larry Brown and Phil Jackson and Jerry Sloan and Jack Ramsay.

If you mentioned Rick Adelman, you're in the minority. " -- Kerry Eggers

WHAT BLOGS ARE SAYING

The Dream Shake: The Streak Is Over at 22
Houston Press: Rockets-Celtics: Requiem for a Streak
The Wages of Wins: Kobe and T-Mac Again
The Association: The Bizarro Association: Houston Rockets
Ball Don't Lie: Rockets' 'Moneyball' Approach Paying Dividends
SLAM Online: Houston Making History
Bleacher Report: The Great Tracy McGrady
The Dream Shake: Rockets/Hawks - The Best of Both Worlds!
AOL NBA Fanhouse: Rockets Fans Go (a Little Too) Crazy