Houston Community News >> Celtics Snap Houston Rockets Win Streak

3/19/2008 Houston (AFP)-- Regular-season win leader Boston snapped the second-longest win streak in National Basketball Association history at 22 games here Tuesday with a 94-74 victory over the Houston Rockets.

Kevin Garnett led Boston with 22 points while Paul Pierce added 20 as the Celtics improved their league-best record to 54-13 and dropped the Rockets to 46-21, level with the Los Angeles Lakers atop the Western Conference.

The Rockets' run fell short of the all-time NBA win streak of 33 established in 1972 by the Los Angeles Lakers. Houston had not lost since falling 97-89 to Utah at home on January 27.

Houston won the last 10 in a row in the streak without Chinese All-Star center Yao Ming, lost with a season-ending foot injury.

By winning a possible preview of the NBA Finals, the Celtics improved to 22-4 against Western Conference clubs with their 13th triumph in 14 games and their seventh in a row on the road, ending a 15-game Houston home win streak.

"The Rockets are playing some unbelievable basketball. A streak of 22 in a row is hard to do in any sport," Garnett said. "But we have been on a little streak of our own. It's good to have a little consistency of our own."

The Celtics, who also beat the Rockets 97-93 in Boston on January 2, showed why they have the best defensive statistics in the NBA, containing Houston star Tracy McGrady to only eight points on 4-of-11 shooting.

"Huge win for us," said Garnett, who summed up the reason behind the victory with one word - "defense".

One night after beating the reigning NBA champion San Antonio Spurs, Boston opened the third quarter with a 20-7 run for a 60-47 lead with Garnett and Pierce sparking the spurt.

Boston, a league-best 25-8 on the road, pushed the margin to 72-56 after three quarters and to 81-58 five minutes into the final quarter.

Garnett grabbed 11 rebounds while Leon Powe came off the bench to score 18 points for the Celtics. Luis Scola led Houston with 15 points.

The Celtics, who have already clinched the Atlantic division title, were without Ray Allen, who missed his third game in a row with an injured left ankle. The 12-year veteran is averaging 18.3 points a game.

The Rockets rose from 10th in the Western Conference to first thanks to the win streak, but will play eight of their next 10 games on the road starting Wednesday at New Orleans, Friday at Golden State and Saturday at Phoenix.

Houston's Rafer Alston stole the ball from Sam Cassell at mid-court and raced for a layup that gave the Rockets a 22-21 lead after the first quarter, a period in which the Celtics had led by as many as seven points.

The Rockets made their first four shots of the second quarter, stretching their own lead to 30-23, but the Celtics closed the first half with a 5-0 run to level the score at 40-40 at half-time.

"We gave up too many points in the paint," Alston said. "We turned the ball over so many times in the second quarter, that enabled them to get back in the game. We started standing around a little bit."

Emotions were high as Boston's Rajon Rondo and Alston traded shoves before the first in-bounds pass to start the game and Scola committed a flagrant foul, slamming Boston's Tony Allen to the court in the third quarter. 

(Contributed by AFP)