Horford misses game-winning layup, Celtics lose heartbreaker to Rockets, 107-106

Horford misses game-winning layup, Celtics lose heartbreaker to Rockets, 107-106

In the closing seconds, the Boston Celtics got exactly what they wanted. 
A chance to win, with the ball in their $113 million man’s hands with a game-winning layup in the making. 


Al Horford and the Boston Celtics did everything right except finish the game off as Horford’s game-winning layup rimmed out as time expired which preserved a 107-106 win for Houston. 
The potential game-winner came courtesy of Marcus Smart drawing a flagrant-1 foul against James Harden with the Celtics trailing at the time, 107-104.
Smart went to the line and made both free throws to make it a one-point game. 
Boston’s Isaiah Thomas missed a potential game-winning layup that went out of bounds off of Harden with 5.3 seconds left. 
After the officials reviewed the play to make sure it did in fact go off of Harden, Boston had one more shot to steal the victory … and they came up short. 
James Harden made a ton of free throws and as usual, does a nice job of setting his teammates up for easy scores. 
But down the stretch, he went back to the 3-point shooting identity of the Houston Rockets which proved to be just enough for the win as his 3-pointer over Smart with 55 seconds to play eventually became the game-winning shot. 
For the night, Houston was 12-for-38 on 3s while the Celtics were 11-for-32. 
Harden led all scorers with 37 points to go with eight assists, eight rebounds and yes, 10 turnovers. 
Meanwhile, Horford had a strong night as well (minus the late-game miss) with 21 points, six rebounds and a game-high nine assists. 
The Celtics (12-9) had their five-game road winning streak come to an end while the Rockets (14-8) have now won three straight and eight of their last 10 games. 
The loss snapped Boston’s five-game road winning streak.
Boston fell behind by as many as 12 points in the third quarter following a jump-hook shot in the lane by Clint Capela. 
The Celtics responded one of their best stretches of play at both ends of the floor, resulting in a 19-2 run that put Boston ahead 72-67 following a jumper by Horford. 
Houston went on a mini-spurt by scoring five of the game’s next seven points which brought them within 74-72 when Brad Stevens called a time-out with 4:39 to play in the third quarter. 
Boston continued to lock down defensively while getting some timely baskets which was good enough for them to take an 83-77 lead into the fourth quarter.

NBCSB Breakfast podcast: Maybe next year will be the Celtics' year

NBC Sports Boston Illustration

NBCSB Breakfast podcast: Maybe next year will be the Celtics' year

1:31 - With the results of Kyrie Irving’s second opinion on he knee looming, the Celtic’s season is certainly up in the air. A. Sherrod Blakely, Chris Mannix, Kyle Draper and Gary Tanguay debate how and if Kyrie should be used if he returns.

6:02 - Back in October Michael Felger prematurely said the Bruins season was over. The B’s marketing team featured Felger in an ad for playoff tickets now that the Bruins have clinched the playoffs. Felger, Trenni and Gary react to the commercial and discuss the Bruins playoff chances.

11:47 - The Patriots are making moves! on Tursday the Pats made deals with LaAdrian Waddle, Marquis Flowers and Patrick Chung. Phil Perry, Michael Holley, Troy Brown and Tom Curran discuss how despite these moves, the Patriots should still be in search of a left tackle.

Greg Monroe looking forward to his 2nd taste of playoffs

File Photo

Greg Monroe looking forward to his 2nd taste of playoffs

BOSTON – We live in a world filled with success stories that came about by accident. 

The invention of the microwave oven.

Post-It notes.

The creation of potato chips.

The Boston Celtics’ game-winning play against Oklahoma City earlier this week qualfies; a play in which there were multiple miscues made by the Celtics prior to Marcus Morris’ game-winning shot. 


All these Celtics injuries have made Brad Stevens a mad scientist of sorts with some unusual lineups that may be on display tonight against the guard-centric Portland Trail Blazers. 

In Boston’s 100-99 win over the Thunder on Tuesday, we saw Stevens utilize a lineup with Al Horford and Greg Monroe, in four different stints.

Monroe, who had 17 points off the bench - the most he has scored as a Celtic -  enjoyed playing with Horford.

“Al’s so smart. He’s seen it all in this league,” Monroe told NBC Sports Boston. “He’s an all-star. Very cerebral player, unselfish. So it’s easy playing with him. He can space, drive, make plays. I feel like I can make plays, driving. It’s fun playing with him. I look forward to getting out there with him more.”

Horford had similar praise for playing with Monroe.

“Coach (Brad Stevens) made a great move bringing Greg back in, in the fourth, playing us together,” Horford said. “He made some great plays, passing the ball and just … timely plays. It’s one of those things, the more we play with each other the more comfortable we’ll get. I thought it was very positive.”

Monroe’s role has become significantly more important with the season-ending injury (torn meniscus, left knee) to Daniel Theis. And his ability to play well with various lineups will only improve Boston’s chances of weathering this latest storm of injuries which comes on the eve of the playoffs. 

And while there’s a certain amount of pleasure all players take in being on a playoff-bound team, Monroe understands better than most NBA veterans just how special it is to be headed towards the postseason.

In his eighth season, this will only be Monroe’s second time participating in the playoffs. 

The first time? 

That was last year, with the Milwaukee Bucks. 

“This is what everybody plays for, I hope,” Monroe said. “This is what I play for, to get into the postseason, make a run. It’s the best situation. I’ve been through a lot in my career, this year. I’m grateful. I don’t take anything for granted. I’m going to do whatever I can to help the team.”

And he has done that lately.

Monroe comes into tonight’s game having scored in double figures each of the last four games, a season high for the 6-foot-11 center. 

Having spent most of his NBA career watching instead of participating in the playoffs, Monroe is out to prove that he can in fact be a significant contributor to a team that’s postseason-bound.

“For sure. You have to have a little chip, a little fire, at least in my eyes,” Monroe said. “I’ve never doubted myself. It’s about being between those lines and being the best player I can be. That’s what I’m focused on.”