Led by Isaiah Thomas, Celtics shoot past Rockets, 120-109
Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara / USA TODAY Sports
For once, the shouts of “MVP” weren’t directed toward James Harden. Instead, the home crowd was cheering for Isaiah Thomas, the little (5-foot-9) guy who led the Boston Celtics past the Houston Rockets, 120-109.
“It’s stuff you dream of as a little kid,” Thomas said. “I always said to be in the Garden, to play for the Celtics, and for them to be chanting MVP is like – it doesn’t seem real.”
Thomas’ 38 points and nine assists on Wednesday marked his 15th game this season with at least 30 points and his 29th in a row with 20 or more. Jae Crowder added 23 points and 10 rebounds, and Al Horford finished with 20 points and nine assists.
Going into the evening, the Celtics had lost three straight, while the Rockets have been upping the ante throughout this season – largely thanks to James Harden. Harden finished the night with 30 points and 12 assists, Ryan Anderson with 19 points, and Sam Dekker with 15.
At the half, it was Boston that had the deficit (58-52), but they erased that in the third quarter. Houston pulled up to 88-86 entering the fourth. The final five minutes held most of the action. Harden lost his temper with a flagrant foul that left Jonas Jerebko with a bloody mouth and set Thomas up for two free throws. It may not have been intentional, but Harden’s action cost his team the most important momentum swing of the game.
In the final minutes of the game, it looked like Harden’s usual confidence was shot. A turnover from him sealed the win for the Celtics.
“I felt like we really did a good job in containing him,” said Al Horford of Harden. “I was making sure that I contested everything he got, you know, making him work, and then the guy’s playing high minutes out there, so I’m sure that, toward the end, he was probably a little tired.”