THE NITTY GRITTY
Houston’s explosive offense was too hot to handle for the overmatched Celtics. Terrence Jones led a balanced attack (six players in double figures) for the hosts with a career-high 24 points on 10-of-12 shooting. James Harden chipped in with 15 points and Patrick Beverley added 16 points as the Rockets shot a scorching 56.9 percent from the field, including 72.2 percent in the first half. For Boston, Jared Sullinger bounced back from a subpar outing in Minnesota to post 10 points and nine rebounds. Courtney Lee also was one of the few bright spots for Boston. After sitting out Saturday’s game with a sore right wrist, Lee scored a team-high 17 points off the bench.
Unfortunately for the Celtics, this one was over shortly after the opening tip. Houston stormed out to an 18-1 run out of the gate, as Boston missed its first 10 shots from the field in the game’s first five minutes. The Rockets used their speed and athleticism to punish the Celtics with easy transition buckets, posting 15 fast-break points in the first quarter alone. Boston showed a little fight early by cutting the lead to 10, but the Rockets put the game officially out of reach by closing out the first quarter with a 10-0 run. The Celtics got no closer than 18 the rest of the way.
MIA: JEFF GREEN
Coming off a two-point performance against Minnesota on Saturday night, Jeff Green again showed little aggression on the offensive end and finished with a mere four points. Boston’s leading scorer has hit just two of his past 13 shots.
The Celtics shot a season-low 32.3 percent. ... With virtually the entire second half consisting of garbage time, all 13 members of the active roster saw action, including Keith Bogans, who played a season-high 12 minutes. ... Houston made use of its size advantage in the interior to post 10 blocked shots. ... The Rockets led by as many as 35 points. ... Avery Bradley had a miserable shooting night, going 5-of-22 from the field. ... The Celtics outrebounded Houston on the offensive glass 18-5.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics (4-8) have dropped four straight games, giving them their second four-game losing streak of the season. The road gets no easier for Brad Stevens and company, as Boston is about to face one of the toughest stretches of its season. They are back in action against San Antonio Wednesday night, before coming home to face the Pacers on Friday. With little time to regroup, putting an end to this losing streak will be a tall order against the NBA’s elite.