The win moved Houston's record to 48-13, still the best record in the National Basketball Association, though they are now tied with the Warriors.
With the ball on his own base line and with just over two seconds remaining in the game, Celtics' Marcus Morris nearly threw the ball the length of the court towards his teammate Marcus Smart, who was positioned on the left side of the Rockets' three-point line. However, their teammates were more than happy to pick up the slack.
"In the first half they were getting a lot of easy looks, they made us scramble defensively". It's also scored 50-plus points in four of those five games. But defense was the deciding factor in this one.
Surprisingly though, Boston - in its four game winning streak since the All-Star break - has seen a surge in scoring, averaging almost 119 points. Houston takes by far the most in the league at 42.5 per game, and their strike rate of 36.4% places them 12th. On the very next play, he stole a Kyrie Irving pass and hit a layup seconds later to give Houston the lead, 117-115.
James Johnson scored 14 points, Goran Dragic and Justise Winslow each had 13 and Dwyane Wade added 11 for Miami. Houston followed with a couple of misses by James Harden and Ariza which Horford followed up with another miss. It may be close once again, but the Rockets will be too good at home and will escape from the clutches of the Celtics in the final half of the last quarter. For the first time since he entered the league, he is the second best player in his sides backcourt, but he is handling this with aplomb and has been a major reason for Houston's dominance this season. Paul received a technical for arguing a foul in the second quarter. Irving made a layup seconds later, but Harden made one of two free throws with 7.4 seconds left to make it 120-117.More news: Michelle Wie holes monster putt for Singapore win
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Boston tried to answer but Marcus Smart's three-point heave bounced off the rim at the buzzer to give Houston the victory. And Greg Monroe had his second consecutive double-digit scoring game as a Celtic, with a solid 18 points (6-9 FG) and six rebounds in 19 minutes on the floor. Paul, a nine-time All-Star, is still performing at a high level at age 32, putting up 18.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, 8.2 assists and 1.8 steals per game in his debut season with the Rockets. Since securing a triple-double in his first career start on January 31, Rozier has averaged 15.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game off of the bench.
Marcus Morris had 21 to lead a Boston bench that scored 67 points.
"I thought we were great off the bench", C's coach Brad Stevens said after the loss. This dominance at both ends makes them a near impossible matchup up, and Boston will need to play out of their skins to have a chance. But they still have a seven-game lead on the Cleveland Cavaliers for the No. 2 spot.
UP NEXT: The Celtics (44-20) will play the second of a three-game road trip Monday night against the Chicago Bulls (21-41).