There was a time James Harden’s beard was stubble. Jeremy Lin was once anonymous. Los Angeles loved Dwight Howard. Things change. Yet, none of those transformations might be as great as the reversal of the Rockets’ play to open games, from the slop with which they began games early in the season to the early surges since last week’s lineup change. That was never more evident than on Tuesday when the Rockets pounced on the Celtics from the opening tip, rolling up an 18-1 lead, leading by as much as 35 and the coasting to a second-consecutive start-to-finish romp, 109-85, Tuesday at Toyota Center. Since Terrence Jones moved into the starting five, the Rockets have led at the end of every first quarter and after Tuesday’s 40-18 blitz, by an average of 10 points. But they – and he – were never better than to start Tuesday’s game, when the Rockets were not just shutting down the Celtics, they were beginning their own fast breaks with blocked shots. The Rockets blocked four shots in the first five minutes, turning each into fast break layups on the other end. Jones had the first of those fast break buckets. He just kept rolling from there, finishing the first quarter 5 for 5 for 11 points, making his first eight shots and finishing his night early with 24 points in 26 minutes. The Rockets took their lead to as much as 35 in the third quarter, enough to give most of the starters the rest of the night off. By then, the Rockets had been making 64.7 percent of their shots while the Celtics were shooting 29.9 percent. They Rockets had outscored the Celtics, 21-3 on the break. And the Rockets had blocked nine shots, the Celtics none.
Rockets show signs of progress in 109-85 win against Celtics
Houston Chronicle | Nov 20