Celtics

Celtics fail to finish off Rockets, lose 123-120

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Celtics fail to finish off Rockets, lose 123-120

HOUSTON – When the Houston Rockets blew a 26-point lead at the TD Garden, Rockets players naturally felt they let a game they should have won, get away. 

The Boston Celtics seemingly returned the favor on Saturday, spending most of the game playing with a lead before succumbing to a late Houston surge that ended with the Rockets rallying for a 123-120 win. 

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A last-second, off-balance 3-point heave by Marcus Smart hit the side of the rim as time expired.

Houston (49-13) extended its winning streak to 15 in a row while the Celtics (44-20) suffered their first loss since returning from the all-star break. 

James Harden had 26 for the Rockets while Eric Gordon led all players with 29 off the bench. Boston was paced by Marcus Morris’ 21 points as well as Greg Monroe chipping in with 18 points – the most he has scored as a Celtic. 

Kyrie Irving had a rough night for Boston, finishing with 18 points on 6-for-17 shooting. 

Boston seemingly had the game in control with 113-107 lead, only for the Rockets to go on a 10-2 run capped off by a Trevor Ariza 3-pointer.

The Marcus Smart vs James Harden 2.0 narrative that we all were so longing to see play out on Saturday, never quite materialized the way we envisioned. 

It was Jaylen Brown who spent a good chunk of the game defending Harden, with Smart’s time on Harden picking up in the second half due to Brown being in foul trouble. 

Smart tried his best to take away Harden’s air space while Harden continued to assert himself as the lethal scorer we’ve seen for years. 

The tone for the down-to-the-wire finish was set from the outset.

Boston fell behind 30-22 following a lay-up by Luc Mbah a Moute, only for Boston to close out the first quarter with a 10-0 run which put them ahead 32-30 after the first. 

The Celtics continued to surge ahead early in the first and led by as man as nine points before the Rockets got back in the game with a 12-3 run to tie the game at 50 following a 3-pointer by James Harden. 

But the Celtics continued to play with a heightened level of purpose and focus that allowed them to withstand each Houston surge. 

And with a strong showing from the bench, Boston went into the half leading 64-58.

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Celtics finish Summer League with loss to Trail Blazers in quarterfinals

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Celtics finish Summer League with loss to Trail Blazers in quarterfinals

The Boston Celtics close out their NBA Summer League campaign with a 4-2 record, after falling to the Portland Trail Blazers 95-80 in the Las Vegas quarterfinals, at the Thomas & Mack Center on the campus of UNLV.

The Celtics trailed by as much as 14 points in the first half, only to crawl all the way back to tie it up twice in the third quarter before giving way in the fourth.

It was a strong night for the Celtics' bench. Former UMass star Trey Davis, childhood friend of Marcus Smart, led all Boston scorers with 19 points. Meanwhile, University of Rhode Island star Hassan Martin had another solid showing, leading the Celtics with 16 points off the bench to go with nine rebounds. Guerschon Yabusele was the other Celtic -- and only starter -- in double-figures, the sturdy big man showing range from deep with a 4-for-7 effort on three-pointers that anchored a 16-point total.

John Jenkins, a 2012 first-round pick of the Atlanta Hawks, led the way for Portland with 25 points.

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Boston Celtics waive Kadeem Allen

Boston Celtics waive Kadeem Allen

The Boston Celtics announced they have waived guard Kadeem Allen Sunday ahead of their Summer League quarterfinal against the Portland Trail Blazers. 

Allen's two-way contract he signed last season would have become fully guaranteed for the 2018-19 season had the Celtics not waived him Sunday. 

The Boston Globe reported that it was likely Allen played his last game with the Celtics Saturday against Miami in the Summer League, and today Boston made it official. 

Selected with the 53rd pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Allen spent most of last season with the Maine Red Claws, where he played very well. He only spent 18 games with the Celtics. 

This year's summer league was an opportunity for Allen to earn a second year on his two-way contract. He struggled to score and create for others, leading to Pierria Henry taking the starting point guard role. 

Allen's release opens up a two-way contract slot for the Celtics, who could look at their own summer league roster or another player who doesn't get an offer from their current team. 

Henry has reportedly gained significant interest from pro teams in Europe, while Hassan Martin is likely to have two-way contract offers in front of him soon. 

Roster spots are hard to come by given the strength of the current Celtics roster, but a temporary slot is there for Danny Ainge to fill. 

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