Pierce guides Boston past Houston
Houston, TX (Sports Network) – Paul Pierce scored 28 points, spearheading a
key fourth-quarter run, as the Boston Celtics rallied to beat the undermanned
Houston Rockets, 77-72, at the Toyota Center.
Pierce scored seven of his points during a 13-0 run late in the fourth
quarter, as Boston took its first lead of the game and eventually ended its
four-game losing streak. Delonte West added 16 points and Al Jefferson also
had 16 points and 17 rebounds for the Celtics, who took advantage of the
Rockets playing without Tracy McGrady.
McGrady missed the game with flu-like symptoms and his absence was evident in
a lackluster offensive effort. Bonzi Wells, starting in place of McGrady,
scored 27 points and Juwan Howard had 12 points for Houston, which has lost
three of five.
After trailing for the entire contest and falling behind by as many as 13
points in the fourth quarter, Boston began to rally. Down 68-60, the Celtics
ran off 13 straight points to take their first lead of the night. Pierce’s
turnaround jumper with 2:22 left tied the game at 68-68. West then converted a
breakaway layup for Boston’s first lead, 70-68, with 1:24 on the clock. Pierce
then capped the run with a turnaround three-pointer over Shane Battier as the
shot clock expired with 25.9 seconds left for a 73-68 edge.
The Rockets shot just 32 percent for the game, hitting only 1-of-22 three-
Houston led this contest from the start, scoring the first seven points and
going into the second with a 22-14 lead. The advantage shrunk to 35-29 at
halftime, but the Rockets began to pull away late in the third quarter.
Ahead 49-44, the Rockets bridged the third and fourth quarters with a 13-5 run
to go ahead by double figures. Houston led 53-44 going into the fourth and
Jake Tsakalidis’ three-point play with just under nine minutes left ended the
run for a 62-49 lead.
This was the first of two meetings this season between these two
clubs…Houston also continues to play without center Yao Ming…These two
teams have split the season series each of the last three years…Houston fell
to 20-8 at home…Boston improved to 9-21 on the road.