Harden's 32 help Rockets end Celtics' home streak 102-98
BOSTON >> James Harden scored 32 points, including Houston's final eight, and the Rockets snapped the Boston Celtics' 14-game home winning streak with a 102-98 victory on Friday night.
Michael Beasley added 18 points and eight rebounds, and Dwight Howard finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds for Houston, which has won three straight — all on the road.
The Rockets led by as many as 11 in the third quarter, before seeing that cushion cut to two points in the fourth.
Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 30 points, but had six turnovers. Jared Sullinger added 24 points and 12 rebounds.
Boston struggled from the field all night, shooting just 37 percent and committing 15 turnovers. The Celtics were also outscored 60-46 in the paint in their first home loss since Jan. 6.
Boston coach Brad Stevens made an adjustment late in the third quarter, inserting rookie Terry Rozier into the lineup. Rozier started the fourth quarter and was active, knocking down an early 3-pointer handing out a trio of assists before heading to the bench with about four minutes to play.
It helped lessen the damage done by Beasley, who scored 10 of Houston's first 12 points of the quarter.
The Rockets continued to be aggressive, and a free throw by Harden gave the Rockets a 97-91 lead with 2:33 remaining.
It stayed that way when a missed step-back jumper by Harden led to an inadvertent whistle during a scramble for the rebound at the 1:11 mark.
An ensuing jumpball between Howard and Sullinger was controlled by Houston, and Harden knocked down a 19-footer with less than a minute left that got the lead back to eight.
Both teams were flat offensively in the early going. But Houston cobbled together a 13-4 run late in the first half and led by three at the break.
Rockets: Have scored 100 or more points in 45 of the 54 games under interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff.
Celtics: Are 6-21 when trailing entering the fourth quarter.
Houston: at Charlotte on Saturday.
Boston: at Indiana on Tuesday.
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