Sat | Aug 18, 2018

Celtics rally from 26 down to stun Rockets

Published:Saturday | December 30, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Boston Celtics’ Kyrie Irving (left) drives past Houston Rockets’ Trevor Ariza during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston on Thursday night.

BOSTON, Massachusetts (AP):

Al Horford made a hook shot with 3.7 seconds left to give Boston their only lead of the game, and the Celtics rallied from a 26-point deficit to beat the Houston Rockets 99-98 on Thursday night.

Kylie Irving scored 26 and Jayson Tatum finished with 19 for the Celtics, while Marcus Smart drew two offensive fouls against James Harden in the closing seconds to help Boston complete the comeback.

Smart and Terry Rozier had 13 points apiece.

Tatum made a lay-up with seven seconds left to pull the Celtics within 98-97, then Smart had position on Harden for an offensive foul that gave Boston the ball and a chance to win it. Horford converted from the lane to put Boston up for the first time in a game Houston had led throughout and dominated until midway through the third quarter.

Harden finished with 34 points and 10 assists. Eric Gordon scored 24 points for Houston, which shot 25 per cent (9 of 36) in the second half and lost their fourth straight.

In Milwaukee, Eric Bledsoe scored 26 points and Giannis Antetokounmpo added 22 to help Milwaukee rally from a 20-point deficit and beat Minnesota 102-98.

Bledsoe had six points and made two key assists down the stretch and the Bucks found their missing defence, holding the Timberwolves to a season-low 12 points in the fourth quarter. Minnesota went cold over the last 4:21 and had its five-game winning streak snapped.

BUCKS' FIRST LEAD

Bledsoe took a pass from Antetokounmpo and made an open 3-pointer from the corner to give the Bucks their first lead of the game at 95-93 with 2:25 to go. Bledsoe followed with a three-point play and then found Antetokounmpo under the basket for an easy two points, pushing the lead to 100-93 with 1:04 left.

Minnesota perhaps wore down a night after a 128-125 overtime victory over Denver and had a four-game road winning streak snapped.

Karl-Anthony Towns scored 22 points for Minnesota and Andrew Wiggins added 21.

Other results: Spurs 119 Knicks 107; Magic 102 Pistons 89; Trail Blazers 114 76ers 110.