Box Score Nuggets
Quote of the Night
Brad Stevens delivered a stern message to the Boston Celtics at halftime of Friday’s game against Houston. That message inspired the C’s to stage a comeback, but that comeback fell short.
The Celtics trailed by as many as 19 points during the first half of the contest. Houston, to put it lightly, was blowing Boston out.
The Rockets put up a 60-spot over the first two quarters thanks to a 52.2 percent shooting performance. Three of their players scored in double-figures during the first half alone, led by 16 points from Donatas Motiejunas.
What fired Stevens up most was the fact that Houston piled up an incredible 30 points in the paint during the first half alone. To put that into perspective, seven teams in the NBA entered play Friday night averaging fewer than 40 points in the paint per game this season.
The C’s defense was soft and a step slow, and Stevens let his guys know at halftime. To their credit, they responded.
Boston came out in the second half and looked like a completely different team. The Celtics were fired up. They were energized. They played with passion.
That’s how an 18-point halftime deficit was whittled all the way down to three on multiple occasions during the fourth quarter. Marcus Thornton, who tallied eight points and four rebounds during the fourth, and Marcus Smart, who notched four points and two assists during the final quarter, led the comeback, all while Boston limited Houston to 28.9 percent shooting during the second half.
But as the Celtics have experienced many a time this season, it was too little, too late. Houston never relinquished its lead and made just enough plays to hang on for a 93-87 victory.
Thank you, Marcus Thornton. You made Friday night exciting.
The Boston Celtics were left for dead after their first-half performance against the Houston Rockets. That is, until Thornton caught fire.
Thornton scored 11 of his team-high 17 points during the second half, including eight during the fourth quarter alone. He canned two 3s during the fourth, and four overall on the night, while leading Boston’s comeback.
In addition to his scoring, the shooting guard also notched a new season high in the rebounding category. Thornton grabbed seven boards on the night.
This game would have been a blowout loss for Boston had Thornton not been on the court. He fueled the comeback with his shooting, defense and hustle, and it was fun to watch.
Box Score Nuggets
- James Harden shot just 4-for-21 against Boston's staunch defense.
- Brandon Bass and Marcus Thornton tied for the team high in scoring with 17 points apiece.
- Houston finished with just 93 points after scoring 60 during the first half alone.
- The Celtics tallied only 14 assists on the night.
- Bass (5-for-8) and Tyler Zeller (3-for-4) were the only Celtics to make more than half of their free throw attempts.
- Zeller led the Celtics in rebounds with 11.
- Donatas Motiejunas set a new career high with 26 points. He also grabbed 12 boards.
- The Celtics limited the Rockets to just nine points during the third quarter.
- Marcus Smart and Jared Sullinger tied for the team high in assists with four apiece.
- Harden's seven assists were a game high.
- Boston scored 21, 22 or 23 points in each quarter.
- Five Celtics each blocked one shot.
- Josh Smith came off the bench to log a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds for Houston.
- Jae Crowder led the game with three steals.
Quote of the Night
The second half might have been as good of a half of defense as we’ve played all year.
Brad Stevens on Boston's second-half defense.