Instant Replay: Rockets slide past Celtics

Instant Replay: Rockets slide past Celtics
January 13, 2014, 8:45 pm
Share This Post

Dwight Howard after Rockets' win over Celtics

(USA Today Images)

The Rockets got off to very slow start, struggling to score throughout the first quarter. That ended quickly with the Rockets' scoring 65 points in the second and third quarters combined, to easily push past the Celtics, 104-92.

Once Houston recalled the serious shortcomings of the Celtics' defense in the paint, they had no trouble building as much as a 20-point lead.

Houston scored 58 points in the paint and the points came from everybody because the Rockets were constantly attacking the basket. Jeremy Lin had nine assists, with six of them coming in the third quarter. Howard was on the receiving end of three of those dishes right at the rim. Lin added 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting. James Harden also had 16 points, but struggled finding his shot, finishing just 6-of-18 from the field.

Chandler Parsons returned to the starting lineup after missing the last three games with a knee injury. He scored 14 points and added seven rebounds and four assists. Despite Rockets head coach Kevin McHale saying they would watch his minutes, Parsons logged 39 minutes of action.

The game was over when
The Celtics decided to go with the Hack-A-Howard strategy with just under four minutes remaining. Boston had sliced a 20-point lead to ten points when they started fouling. They stopped fouling with two minutes remaining with the lead still at 10 points, essentially wasting two minutes of everyone's time. Howard made 6-of-12 free throws during that stretch.

Highlight of the night
The Rockets faltered early in the fourth quarter, watching what was once a 20-point second half lead, dwindle down to 13 points. Lin grabbed an errant Rockets pass and with the shot clock winding down, worked through a double team to loop a pass to a wide-open James Harden, who calmly buried a 3-pointer. It put the Rockets back up 16 points and the steadied the ship from there.

Numbers of the night
All five Rockets starters reached double-figures in scoring. Dwight Howard led the way with 32 points and added 11 rebounds. Terrence Jones also had a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

Next up
The Rockets will finish their four-game road trip with a game in New Orleans on Wednesday night. It's second meeting of the season, with Houston winning in Houston on December 28, 107-98. Howard led the Rockets in that game with 24 points and 18 rebounds.