Final, Celtics 94-87: They’re back. Paul Pierce finishes with 26, Ray Allen adds 19 and Kevin Garnett posts 15.
That’s a very good sign for the Celtics.
Fourth quarter, 17.4 seconds, Celtics 94-87: There are even Celtics fans in Texas. A few folks at the Toyota Center are wearing green and will drive home happy.
Fourth quarter, 47.2 seconds, Celtics 94-87: Paul Pierce puts the nail in the coffin on a pass from KG. Unless Reggie Miller steps off the bench for the Rockets, this game is history.
Fourth quarter, 2:31, Celtics 92-81: Give the Rockets credit. They’re like Rocky — they don’t quit.
Fourth quarter, 4:43, Celtics 88-77: Paul Pierce is moving up the list of greatest Celtics. He has to be in the starting five.
Fourth quarter, 6:24, Celtics 82-73: You wouldn’t like Kevin Garnett when he’s angry. The Rockets are finding this out the hard way. The Big Ticket still can play, and he’s letting all of Texas know about it.
Fourth quarter, 7:41, Celtics 77-71: Paul Pierce didn’t come to Houston to lose. He has 17 points and the heart of a champion.
Fourth quarter, 11:04, Celtics 73-64: Glen Davis is a beast in the paint. At this point in his career, he’s a poor man’s Charles Barkley.
Which is quite a compliment. Sir Charles could ball a little bit.
End of third quarter, Celtics 72-62: Twelve minutes until the Celtics get a win against a team with a winning record. Somewhere, M.L. Carr is waving a towel.
Third quarter, 2:36, Celtics 68-62: Ray Allen has six assists to go with 19 points. It’s his world — we just live it.
Amazing things can happen when you start having fun again.
Third quarter, 2:43, Celtics 65-62: Kevin Martin looks a little like Robert Parish when he shoots the ball, bringing the ball up around his head in a herky-jerky motion. But just like the Chief, Martin knows how to find the bottom of the net. He has 15 points and counting.
Third quarter, 6:08, Celtics 57-55: That must have been some halftime speech by Rick Adelman. The Rockets are going to give Doc Rivers an ulcer.
Adelman has been coaching in the NBA for a long time. If it wasn’t for Robert Horry and Tim Donaghy, Adelman might have won an NBA title with the Kings in 2002.
Third quarter, 9:03, Celtics 52-46: Tommy Heinsohn stops yelling at the TV. The Celtics get on the board in the second half with a Perkins layup.
9:49 p.m.: There’s nothing wrong with Paul Pierce’s knee, foot, thumb or heart. He leads the Celtics with 11 at the break.
Halftime, Celtics 50-41: It’s the Green’s day so far.
Rondo picks Brooks’ pocket and almost hits a 30-footer at the buzzer.
This is how most people thought the Celtics would play all season. Digging in on defense, running the floor, moving the ball, hitting shots. Nine players have put the ball in the basket for the Celtics.
Maybe they really can just flip the switch.
Second quarter, 1:14, Celtics 50-39: The Rockets’ starting center is Chuck Hayes. He is 6-foot-6, but he’s a warrior.
Kendrick Perkins only has four points. He’s pacing himself for a second half.
Second quarter, 2:00, Celtics 47-39: He who is the aggessor wins. Houston has a problem. The Celtics have found the fountain of youth.
Second quarter, 3:03, Celtics 44-39: The Rockets won’t go away.
Second quarter, 5:26, Celtics 40-34: Think the Lakers miss Trevor Ariza? The swingman just stole a rebound from KG off a missed free throw, and Shane Battier hit a 3.
Second quarter, 5:28, Celtics 40-28: The Green remembered to pack all of their game. Rasheed Wallace just knocked down a 25-footer, and the defense is holding the Rockets to 34.5 percent from the field.
Second quarter, 8:22, Celtics 33-26: White men can jump. Chase Budinger rises up and throws down a miss.
Budinger might be a Celtic fan at heart.
Second quarter, 8:33, Celtics 33-24: The Celtics are getting healthy. They are going to need all hands on deck to hang with the big boys in the East.
Second quarter, 9:27, Celtics 33-24: The five on the floor for the Celtics are Nate Robinson, Marquis Daniels, Michael Finley, Glen Davis and Rasheed Wallace. Robinson gives Boston its biggest lead of the game.
The Celtics’ second unit has plenty of talent. If they can all figure out how to play together, this team could be very dangerous.
End of first quarter, Celtics 28-24: After 12 minutes, Ray Allen has eight points and is 2-of-2 from beyond the arc. It’s a good thing Ainge didn’t pull the trigger on an Allen deal at the deadline.
As Red Auerbach used to say, the best trades are the ones you don’t make. Allen is proof of that.
First quarter, 2:35, Rockets 21-20: Grab your favorite beverage and some popcorn. This is going to be a good one.
First quarter, 5:26, Celtics 14-13: The Celtics take their first lead of the game on an 18-foot jumper from Kevin Garnett.
Danny Ainge had some interesting things to say about KG this week.
“I don’t think KG is going to carry us by himself, so I don’t expect him to,” Ainge told the Herald. “But KG is making his shots and playing the good team defense. Other guys have to help him, too, for us to be successful.
“I just think we give KG too much credit, and we give him too much [scrutiny] when things are not going right for us.”
Ainge has a point. It takes more than one person to win a championship.
First quarter, 7:12, Rockets 13-8: Scola has six points and three rebounds.
First quarter, 8:48, Rockets 9-4: No Yao Ming, no problem. These Rockets have some talent. The Celtics better start playing defense.
8:44 p.m.: Game time. The Celtics win the tip.
8:31 p.m.: Aaron Brooks, Luis Scola and Kevin Martins are three players to watch on the Rockets.
Brooks is averaging 20.1 points per game and makes a cheetah look slow. He also can shoot (39 percent from 3-point land) and will give Rajon Rondo a run for the money.
Scola might be the best player you’ve never heard of. The 6-foot-9, 245-pound Argentinian can bang inside and shoot outside. He’s averaging 23.1 points and 12.8 boards in his last eight games, and 15.7 and 8.9 on the season.
Martin came over from the Kings at the trade deadline. In 13 games with the Rockets, he is averaging 22.9 points.
8:23 p.m.: The Celtics haven’t beaten a team with a .500 record since Feb. 19, when they hammered the Trail Blazers in Portland. It won’t be easy to break that streak.
The Rockets (35-31) are tougher than they look. They have won four straight and are playing their best basketball of the season.
7:54 p.m.: Want to see a young Doc Rivers? Go to 0:25 of this trailer for More Than A Game, a 1992 documentary about Chicago hoops. Rivers offers some insight into his passion for basketball.
“I am not the same person off the court that I am on the court,” Rivers said back then. “Off the court, I’ll try to do anything for anyone. On the court, I’m gonna win. If I have to hit you in the face to win, I’m gonna hit you in the face.”
That should be the Celtics? new motto — we’re gonna hit you in the face.
Watch the documentary in its entirety here.
8 a.m.: Two-game winning streaks aren’t a cause for celebration, but the Celtics will take whatever good news they can get at this point of their roller-coaster campaign.
After getting embarrassed by the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Sunday, the Green bounced back with two strong wins over the Pistons and Knicks. Even more encouraging is that Paul Pierce (29 points) and Kevin Garnett (22) combined for 51 points against New York. It was one of the rare times this season that KG and The Truth have played well at the same time in the same game. If they can continue to produce together at a consistent clip — and Ray Allen can turn back the clock for one more sustained run — the Big Three could lead the Celtics back to dominance down the stretch and make some teams very nervous in the Eastern Conference.
For now, the Green will test their skills out West with games against the Rockets, Mavericks and Jazz.