The Boston Celtics suffered yet another frustrating loss, falling 111-109 to the subpar Houston Rockets on Monday night at Toyota Center.
The Celtics fell to 47-22 on the season while the Rockets improved their record to 16-52.
Check out the full box score here.
ONE BIG TAKEAWAY
The C’s dug themselves a hole, allowing one of the league’s worst teams to overtake momentum for the better part of the night. This allowed the Rockets to, at one point, take a 13-point lead and cruise for three quarters while the Celtics played catch-up due to their poor outside shooting performance. Boston finished the night knocking down just 12 of 42 total attempts as Malcolm Brogdon, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum were the only Celtics players to connect on multiple outside shots.
Tatum didn’t do justice by the Celtics or his league MVP campaign, registering another uncharacteristic showing following the NBA All-Star break. Tatum was ice-cold from beyond the arc, shooting just 2-of-10 while committing a team-high four turnovers to go alongside 22 points. Tatum provided a glimmer of hope, knocking down his second 3-pointer to end the third quarter and cutting the Rockets’ lead to five points.
Unfortunately for the Celtics, this wouldn’t amount to much.
In the fourth quarter, Boston crumbled. On several opportunities in which the game was within single digits, the Celtics failed to execute, and the Rockets countered. Brown even brought Boston within a point with 8.7 seconds left, giving the Celtics a picture-perfect opportunity. But as they’ve shown on various occasions throughout this season’s final stretch, Boston still hasn’t figured out how to close a game.
STARS OF THE GAME
— Jaylen Brown kept the Celtics within reach, erupting with a 43-point showing. The All-Star also grabbed five rebounds and knocked down four 3-point attempts, shooting 16-for-25 from the field.
— Jabari Smith Jr. notched a double-double as the 19-year-old scored 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for Houston. He also connected on 5-of-6 shot attempts from 3-point range, which tied Smith’s career-high mark.
— Brogdon provided 22 points off Boston’s bench, going a perfect 7-of-7 from the free-throw line.
FanDuel Sportsbook set the over/under on Tatum’s assist total at 4.5 with -150 odds on the Over prior to game time in Houston. Tatum cleared those odds easily, dishing out a team-leading six assists. A $100 wager on Tatum would’ve resulted in a $166.67 total payout.
The Celtics, who now return to the loss column, continue their six-game road trip on Wednesday against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Tipoff from Target Center is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET.