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Forum Index > they fouled Howard repeatedly, the Celtics trimmed a 19-point deficit

vive123654 5 years ago
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 BOSTON -- Dwight Howard did enough at the foul line to help Houston hold on Monday night. Howard had 32 points and 10 rebounds, and the Rockets beat Boston 104-92 to send the skidding Celtics to their ninth consecutive defeat. The Celtics hacked Howard, a poor free throw shooter, over and over again in the fourth quarter and sent him to the line 14 times. The big man made six and finished 10 of 18 in all. "Weve got confidence in Dwight to make those free throws when they start doing that, so I thought it was a real good win for us," teammate Chandler Parsons said. "But it wasnt perfect." As they fouled Howard repeatedly, the Celtics trimmed a 19-point deficit to seven in the fourth period before going dry in the final minutes. "I said (on TV) just now, I would probably support a change in that, that wouldnt allow that, would call it intentional or whatever you want to call it, call it like it would be called in the last 2 minutes," Boston coach Brad Stevens said. "To his credit, he made one almost -- maybe every time up to the foul line." Jeremy Lin added 16 points and nine assists for Houston. James Harden scored 16 and Parsons added 14 after missing three games with a knee injury. Parsons is having a breakout season, averaging 17.5 points (on 51.7 per cent shooting) and 5.4 rebounds. He said his knee "was really good tonight. I thought it was going to be a lot more sore." Avery Bradley had 24 points for the Celtics, on their longest losing streak since dropping a franchise-record 18 straight games in 2007 -- the season before they traded for Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to join Paul Pierce as the Big Three. "Its hard to go through," Stevens said. "Its unenjoyable to go through. But that doesnt mean theres no growth." Houston outscored Boston 65-38 in the second and third quarters. Howard had 12 third-quarter points as the Rockets expanded a 52-43 halftime lead to 84-65 by the end of the period. Jerryd Bayless scored 15 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter and Brandon Bass finished with 14 for Boston. "(Bayless) gave us a chance, just as that whole second unit did," Stevens said. "Some of those guys havent played that much." But the Celtics were unable to complete the comeback and Houston held on. "We are getting a lot of experience on that, getting a lead and then giving it up," Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. "So we are getting better at that." Houston blew a 25-point lead against the Wizards before rallying to win Saturday. "It seemed we played with more poise in the fourth quarter than we did against Washington," Lin said. Bradley had 14 first-quarter points, including two 3-pointers, as the Celtics opened a 27-19 lead and held the Rockets to 29 per cent shooting. Houstons second unit made some quick inroads against Bostons reserves in the second quarter, led by forwards Omri Casspi (12 points) and Parsons. The Rockets starters re-entered with the score tied at 35 and took off on a 17-8 run to build a 52-43 halftime lead. Jordan Crawford had 13 points for Boston. NOTES: Stevens said there is "nothing concrete" on a return date for rehabbing All-Star guard Rajon Rondo, but allowed that it would be "sooner rather than later." Speculation has ranged from Friday against the Lakers to after the All-Star break. ... The Rockets welcomed Parsons back but are still missing centre Omer Asik (bruised thigh) and guard Patrick Beverley (broken hand). ... The Rockets lost their two previous visits to Boston. ... Bass was scratched from the starting lineup in favour of Jared Sullinger. Marqise Lee Camo Jersey .  Here are a few quick thoughts. FIVE QUICK NBA THOUGHTS:   1. TORONTO RAPTORS: The Draft is the beginning of what should be a busy and fascinating off-season. www.authenticjaguarsshop.com/Blake-Bortles-Jaguars-Jersey . -- Alex Anthopoulos spoke volumes with what he didnt say on right-hander Ervin Santana. http://www.authenticjaguarsshop.com/Blake-Bortles-Jaguars-Jersey . -- The postgame cheer from inside the New York Jets locker room could be heard in the stadium hallways. Blake Bortles Womens Jersey . An MRI on Wednesday confirmed the injury. Zuccarello played in three games for Norway at the Olympics and was held without a point. Norway went 0-3 in the preliminary round and was eliminated by Russia in the qualification stage. Marqise Lee Authentic Jersey . -- Jimmy Walkers first PGA Tour trophy came with a special gift tucked inside.CHICAGO - Its been nearly a month since the Raptors surrendered a 27-point lead - their largest collapse in franchise history - in an embarrassing road loss to the Warriors, a loss that surprised nobody. As the schedule flipped from November to December, they would go on to drop five straight, falling six games below the .500 mark before a franchise-altering trade turned them into an unrecognizable team. Now, the Raptors - winners of three straight for the first time this season and eight of their last 11 - are finding ways to win, rather than finding creative and increasingly frustrating ways to lose. The fourth-quarter comeback is becoming something of a nightly tradition, defying everything we thought we knew about the long-suffering franchise. A lot can change in a few weeks and for the Raptors, everything has. "Now when we face adversity we dont get down," said DeMar DeRozan moments after he and his teammates engineered the fourth-quarter comeback that sealed an 85-79 victory in Chicago on New Years Eve. "Before, a lot of the times we would make excuses if something didnt go our way and wed get frustrated. Now everyone just stays level." That level of confidence and self-belief is evident whenever this team has found themselves staring down any late-game adversity, and theyve encountered their fair share of it over the past month. A year ago, the Raptors won three games in which they trailed going into the fourth quarter. This season theyve already won five such contests, four in the last six games, all of them coming on the road. After scoring just 57 points, shooting 37 per cent through three quarter and trailing Chicago by as many as nine, Toronto bested the Bulls 28-17 in the fourth while holding them to 4-of-26 from the field. Naturally its been a wild ride for Dwane Casey, who has been proud of his teams resiliency but hopes this is not a trend theyll be relying on in the New Year. "You have to meet their force with force, if youre serious about winning," said the Raptors coach Tuesday evening. "We did that and we have to continue to do that and Im not going to let up, Im not going to relent from that because thats who we are, its who weve got to be." "I know, to win in this league you have to be a physical, bad-behind team." Calm, cool and collected, the Raptors quickly turned the tables in the fourth. For the first time all night they controlled the tempo and owned the paint, bodying up with the physical Bulls frontline. Again, nobody paanicked and again, they owe a lot of that newfound resilient to their newest teammates.dddddddddddd Reserves Greivis Vasquez, Patrick Patterson and John Salmons - all three acquired from Sacramento in the Rudy Gay trade earlier this month - began the final period on the floor alongside starters DeMar DeRozan and Jonas Valanciunas. The three newcomers totaled just eight points in the first 36 minutes - the Bulls bench outscoring Torontos reserves 31-12 at the time - but combined to score 19 in the fourth. Vasquez ran the show for the first eight minutes of the quarter before Kyle Lowry finished the game, Patterson had eight points and clamped down on Taj Gibson, while Salmons was rock solid on both ends as usual. All three were crucial to the comeback, one that ignited the teams bench and had every Raptor on their feet supporting their teammates. "Honestly, those guys who started the fourth quarter… those guys won that game for us," said Kyle Lowry, who added 13 points and six minutes himself. "I tip my hat to them." "I think the guys in this locker room believe," he continued. "We believe in each other, we believe in what were trying to do. I think we know we have a chance to do some things and we can take care of business when times are tough. Were showing the team camaraderie and spirit that we have, were all happy for each other." The Raptors players are high on confidence, feeling good about themselves sitting atop a struggling division and closing in on a .500 record as they welcome in 2014. Still, theyre living proof that things, in this league can change in heartbeat. Having already navigated through the toughest early-season schedule of any team in the Eastern Conference, according to Basketball-Reference.com, the month that lays ahead presents yet another challenge. Toronto will play 17 games in 31 days to begin the New Year. Apart from a three-game trip and a three-game home stand at the outset, theyll alternate home and road contests for the remainder of January with two days in between outings only once. In just a couple weeks they have become a feel-good team in the disappointing Eastern Conference but all the progress theyve made can be undone just as quickly as they face a daunting stretch with a couple of games against the Pacers, a visit to Miami and a meeting with the red-hot Wizards. The final month of 2013 has been kind to them but their resolution is simple; stay hungry in 2014. ' ' '

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