NBA Basketball

Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Houston 25 19 26 32 102
Boston 33 19 30 36 118
4:30 PM PT5:30 PM MT6:30 PM CT7:30 PM ET23:30 GMT7:30 4:30 PM MST6:30 PM EST3:30 UAE (+1)00:3019:30 ET5:30 PM CT22:30 , April 2, 2021
TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts  Attendance: 0

Celtics aim to escape doldrums against woeful Rockets

According to STATS
According to STATS

Houston Rockets at Boston Celtics

  1. In the first game of the year between these teams on March 14, the Celtics snapped their five-game losing streak against the Rockets with a 134-107 win. The 27-point win was Boston's largest against Houston since a 29-point, 109-80, victory in Game 5 of the 1981 NBA Finals.
  2. The Rockets lost in Brooklyn by 12 points on Wednesday, giving them an NBA-high 25 double-digit losses, their most in any season since 1997-98 (25). Of those 25 losses, 20 have come since the start of February -- the last time that Houston had 20 double-digit losses over a full season was in 2001-02 (20).
  3. Kevin Porter Jr. led the Rockets with 20 points in the loss, his fifth 20-point game since he debuted for Houston after the All-Star break. Only one player in franchise history has more career 20-point games as a Rocket before turning 21 years old -- Eddie Griffin, with six.
  4. Boston fell to 4-8 overall and 1-4 at home since the All-Star break after a 113-108 loss to Dallas on Wednesday in which the Mavs shot 48.7 percent from three. The Celtics have allowed opponents to shoot 40.3 percent from three since the break, the second-worst mark in the NBA (Timberwolves -- 40.4).
  5. Jayson Tatum had his 60th career 25-point game on Wednesday, becoming the fourth Celtic whose career began in the last 50 seasons (since 1971-72) to have 60 25-point games through his first four seasons in the NBA. He joins Larry Bird (115), Paul Pierce (107) and Antoine Walker (70).
  6. The Celtics are 1-12 this season (.077) when shooting under 45.0 percent on field goals, the worst record in the NBA. Houston is 4-25 (.138) in such games, the worst record in the Western Conference and the third worst in the NBA (the Cavaliers are 3-20 (.130)).

After two straight games of comeback attempts that came up short, the Boston Celtics get a golden opportunity to get back on track when they host the struggling Houston Rockets on Friday night.

The Celtics trailed by 23 in the third quarter and entered the fourth down 17 to the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday before cutting their deficit all the way down to two in the game's final 20 seconds. Boston couldn't complete the comeback and dropped its second straight game.

In Monday's defeat to the New Orleans Pelicans, the Celtics nearly erased a 17-point deficit with 5:50 left.

Boston has lost seven of 10 to drop two games below .500.

"We've got to continue to claw, scratch and sacrifice our bodies to get the job done," guard Marcus Smart said. "We've got to continue to do it and play the right way no matter the outcome, no matter how the game is going, and hopefully the basketball gods reward us for that."

A team with the talent of the Celtics shouldn't need help from the basketball gods to take care of the Rockets. Houston has won just twice in its past 26 games and is even weaker now after dealing Victor Oladipo to the Miami Heat at the trade deadline.

The Rockets lost 120-108 to the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, a game in which they led by 18 five minutes in. They played without point guard John Wall (left knee effusion), whose timetable to return is uncertain.

"I think you can look out there and tell that, you know, he's moving a little bit slower," coach Stephen Silas said. "He's trying as hard as he can to fight through this injury, but it remains to be seen as far as the next step or how long it'll be. Hopefully it'll be just tonight, and he'll play in Boston."

Kevin Porter Jr. led Houston with 20 points against the Nets, and Danuel House Jr. added 18. Christian Wood returned from two games missed due to injury/illness and scored 14 in a team-high 35 minutes.

The Celtics have been struggling since mid-January and saw a seven-game homestand as an opportunity to build momentum. It started with their first game at TD Garden in front of fans in over a year, and back-to-back losses two games in is a setback, but the team remains defiant.

"We've got 20-plus games left. We still have a chance to (be a force)," swingman Jaylen Brown said. "I just want to encourage everybody to do that and to inspire everybody to do that."

Against the Mavericks, Jayson Tatum had 25 points, Brown 24 and Kemba Walker 22. Trade acquisition Moritz Wagner (two points in 16 minutes) made his first start for the team as fellow big man Robert Williams III sat out with a non-COVID illness.

The Celtics and Rockets met in March, during the course of Houston's 20-game losing streak. Boston came away victorious on the road, 134-107, leading by as much as 36 in the contest.

--Field Level Media

Updated April 1, 2021

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