HOUSTON — Guard Avery Bradley scored 21 points off the bench as the Boston Celtics turned a pair of backbreaking runs into a 111-95 victory over the struggling Houston Rockets on Monday at Toyota Center.
Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas added 23 points and six assists as Boston (6-4) erased what was once a 15-point deficit with a 15-0 blitz late in the second quarter, a spurt that included eight points from Bradley. Boston put the game on ice by closing the third quarter with another 15-0 run, turning a 72-68 lead into an 87-68 runaway entering the fourth.READ MORE: Injuries Reported At Car Crash In South Boston
Forward Jae Crowder added 16 points for the Celtics, whose stifling, scrambling halfcourt defense set the tone for the staggering momentum swing and comeback win. Boston scored a whopping 39 points off 22 Rockets turnovers and ran Houston ragged with 22 fast-break points.
Rockets forward Trevor Ariza paired 19 points (on 4-of-10 3-point shooting) with nine rebounds but had four turnovers. Houston guards James Harden (16 points) and Ty Lawson added four turnovers apiece.
Houston appeared inspired early, particularly on the defensive end, harassing the Celtics into a series of miscues and hurried shots beginning with the close of the first quarter. The Rockets continued that surge into the second, opening that period with a 14-3 run while building a 42-27 lead capped by an Ariza three-point play and a transition basket from Lawson.READ MORE: Lawrence Teachers Will Rally Before School In Response To Increased Fighting
The Celtics maintained contact, first with an 11-2 spurt that cut the deficit to 44-38 and also after the Rockets rebuilt their lead to 53-40 with their first devastating run. Forward Amir Johnson started the push with a transition dunk at that 2:45 mark and Bradley capped it with a 3.
Harden pulled the Rockets to within four points with his trey with 3:36 left in the third quarter before the Celtics seized the contest. Crowder added another layup following a backdoor cut and Bradley added consecutive 3s to bump the advantage to 85-68. Celtics reserve center Kelly Olynyk beat the buzzer with a running scoop shot and Boston opened a 29-point lead in the fourth quarter before coasting.
Houston (4-7) suffered its fourth consecutive loss – three at home.MORE NEWS: St. John Paul II School Football Players Accused Of Using Racial Slurs During Game
NOTES: Boston coach Brad Stevens will remain judicious with Celtics G Avery Bradley, who logged 26 minutes off the bench on Sunday night in his first action after missing two games with a strained left calf. Bradley finished with 14 points and four assists in a 100-85 win over the Thunder. … Following a sluggish start to the season, one that included five games missed due to a lacerated right eyelid, Rockets F Terrence Jones discovered some offensive rhythm over the weekend, averaging 23 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.5 blocks in consecutive losses to the Nuggets and Mavericks. … Houston coach Kevin McHale continued to bemoan the Rockets’ lack of defense, refusing to give credit to anyone for consistent effort aside from C Dwight Howard. The Rockets entered Monday ranked 29th in defensive rating at 108.9 points allowed per 100 possessions. “It ain’t just Ty and James,” McHale said of starting guards Ty Lawson and James Harden. “You can name a bunch of other people.”