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Celtics rally from 26 down to stun Rockets 99-98

The Celtics rallied from a 26-point deficit to beat the Houston Rockets 99-98 on Thursday night

By: AP | Boston | Updated: December 29, 2017 12:28 pm
Boston Celtics guard Terry Rozier (12) and guard Kyrie Irving (11) jump in the air in celebration of a basket during the second half against the Houston Rockets at TD Garden. (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sport)

Al Horford made a hook shot with 3.7 seconds left to give Boston its only lead of the game, and the Celtics rallied from a 26-point deficit to beat the Houston Rockets 99-98 on Thursday night. Kyrie 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 layup 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 percent (9 of 36) in the second half and lost its fourth straight.

BUCKS 102, TIMBERWOLVES 96
Eric Bledsoe scored 26 points and Giannis Antetokounmpo added 22 to help Milwaukee rally from a 20-point deficit and beat Minnesota. Bledsoe had six points and made two key assists down the stretch and the Bucks found their missing defense, 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.

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.

SPURS 119, KNICKS 107
LaMarcus Aldridge had 25 points and every San Antonio starter scored in double figures to beat New York. Pau Gasol added 17 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists for San Antonio. The Spurs improved to 17-2 at home while winning their third straight overall. The Spurs were without Kawhi Leonard and lost Rudy Gay to a foot injury only two nights after playing with a full roster for the first time all season. Leonard sat out for rest. Gay exited the game late in the third quarter with a sore right heel.

Kyle Anderson had 16 points and eight rebounds starting in place of Leonard. Tony Parker scored 14 points, including 10 in the first quarter as San Antonio bolted to an early lead. Reserve forward Michael Beasley led New York with 23 points. Courtney Lee and Kristaps Porzingis had 18 points apiece, but Porzingis fouled out late in the fourth.

MAGIC 102, PISTONS 89
Elfrid Payton had 19 points, eight rebounds and eight assists to help Orlando break a nine-game losing streak. Evan Fournier scored 17 points and Aaron Gordon had 14 for Orlando, but it was the Magic’s backup centers who made the difference in the game.  Bismack Biyombo had 12 points and 13 rebounds, and Marresse Speights scored 16 points as replacements for injured starter Nikola Vucevic.

Tobias Harris scored 21 points for Detroit, which had won five of six. Andre Drummond had 17 points and 18 rebounds, and Ish Smith contributed 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists.

TRAIL BLAZERS 114, 76ERS 110
Shabazz Napier, who started for injured guard Damian Lillard, scored 15 of his season-high 23 points in the fourth quarter and Portland rallied to beat Philadelphia. CJ McCollum led all scorers with 34 for the Blazers, who snapped a six-game losing streak at home. Portland had a season-high 42 points in the fourth quarter.

The Sixers, who led by as many as 18 points in the third quarter, have lost 10 of their last 12 games. Joel Embiid finished with 29 points and nine rebounds, while Dario Saric had 25 points and nine rebounds.

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