“Team Streak” also known as the Boston Celtics, won their fifth straight game and second consecutive overtime victory, as they held off the Houston Rockets Tuesday night at the “New Garden” 97-92. Celtics team captain Paul Pierce would carry his club in the extra period as he scored 7 of his game high 30 points in just over two minutes of action. Ray Allen added 21 points while Kevin Garnett racked up a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds; which pushed him past former Celtics teammate Shaquille O’Neal to become the twelfth best rebounder in the history of the Association. Boston limped into the All-Star break in the midst of a five game slide; but have yet to lose a contest since returning to action.
It was feast or famine for the Rockets in the game, as they scored 28 points in the opening and third quarters; but could muster only a combined 28 points in the second and the fourth. Luis Scola recorded a double-double with 18 points while Kyle Lowry also knocked down 18 points in the loss. It was the fourth straight loss for Houston.
The two opponents exchanged the lead throughout most of the opening period until Chandler Parsons slammed the rock through the hole with 3:49 putting his team ahead 17-15 remaining and giving Houston an advantage they would keep until the end of the quarter. Scola hit a pair at the line with 30 seconds left and the Rockets would end the period on top 28-21.
The Houston offense that had fired on all cylinders in the first, started to sputter and stall out during the second. With 4:37 left in the period Greg Stiemsma connected on a mid-range jumper giving Boston the upper hand with the score 35-33. Brandon Bass hit another mid-range shot at the buzzer and the Celtics would enter their locker room at the half leading 46-40.
Pierce hit a pair at the charity stripe with 7:58 to play in the third and Boston would hold a double-digit lead at 57-47. The Rockets not only regained their shooting touch at that point but they would hold their opponents at bay as they finished the period on a 21-6 run and led 68-63 at the end of the quarter.
Houston would hold a ten point lead early in the fourth, but the Celtics were not ready to go down without a fight. Allen drained a 23 foot trey with 35 seconds on the clock putting the Celtics back on top at 84-82. The home team appeared as if they would get the win in regulation until Goran Dragic buried an outside jumper with three seconds left and the game would head into overtime with score deadlocked at 84-84.
Pierce hit a shot 11 feet from the basket with 3:20 left in the extra period, was fouled on the play and hit his shot at the line putting Boston ahead 90-86. The visitors would get to within one point of their opponents, but could never get over the hump and the Celtics held on for the win.
Pierce knocked down 30 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals in the Celtics victory. Allen scored 21 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 steals while Garnett had 13 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals.
Scola had 18 points,14 boards and 3 assists while Lowry scored 18 points, 7 assists, 7 rebounds and 1 block. Rookie Chandler Parsons put up 12 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 block. Dragic, Kevin Martin and Samuel Dalembert all chipped in 11 points for the night. Boston now stands at 20-17 and head to Philadelphia where they will face the Sixers on Wednesday while Houston has a record of 21-18 and will travel to Toronto as they take on the Raptors on Tuesday.