April 20, 2018
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Rockets rout Celtics

The Associated Press

HOUSTON — Kevin Martin scored 25 points, rookie Patrick Patterson had 18 points and a career-high 12 rebounds and the Houston Rockets routed the Boston Celtics 93-77 on Friday night.

Kyle Lowry scored 20 and had nine assists and Chuck Hayes had 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Rockets, who’ve won three in a row and moved within 1½ games of Memphis in the race for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Jeff Green scored 17 points and Glen Davis added 16 for the Celtics, who’ve lost four of six. Boston slipped a half game behind Chicago for the best record in the East.

Paul Pierce scored 10 points, but went 2 for 10 from the field, and Rajon Rondo had only four points on 2-for-11 shooting. Boston’s point total was a season low for a Rockets’ opponent.

Houston blew it open in the second quarter, shooting 50 percent and outscoring Boston 34-18. As the deficit widened, the Celtics started losing their poise.

Kevin Garnett and Hayes traded shoves and words, and referee Jason Phillips gave them both technical fouls. On the next play, Davis fell into the crowd along the baseline after he was pushed by Jordan Hill, then got up yelling and pointing at Hill. The Houston backup forward was called for a personal foul, and Davis got a technical with 2:45 remaining.

A minute later, Delonte West was whistled for a flagrant foul when he hammered Hill under the Rockets’ basket.

Houston took advantage of Boston’s outbursts, hitting all the resulting free throws and extending the lead to 58-37. Lowry swished another 3-pointer just before the buzzer to put the Rockets ahead 62-40 at the break.

The Rockets went 7 for 14 from 3-point range and 15 for 15 from the free throw line in the first half. Martin had 19 points and Lowry had 16 in the first half, while the Celtics had no players in double-figures.

Patterson slipped inside for a two-handed dunk early in the third quarter, and the Rockets kept control. He slammed home a rebound later in the quarter to make it 81-52.

Boston’s starters watched the final quarter from the bench. Houston coach Rick Adelman curiously left four of his five starters in until the final minute.

Houston went 21 for 23 from the free-throw line and outrebounded Boston 44-35.

The Rockets led 28-22 after the first quarter, and reserves Goran Dragic and Brad Miller hit 3s early in the second to push the lead into double digits. Boston coach Doc Rivers had his starting lineup back in by the midpoint of the second quarter, but Martin’s 3 with 4:25 left gave Houston a 47-33 lead.

The Celtics let their frustration boil over after that, and the Rockets were never threatened again.

NOTES: Rivers said athletic trainer Ed Lacerte will have the final call on when C Shaquille O’Neal returns from a right Achilles’ injury that’s kept him out since Feb. 4. “He’s not playing until the doctors say he can play,” Rivers said. … Rockets F Luis Scola sat out for the fifth straight game with a sore left knee. Adelman expected Scola to return to action next week. … The Rockets had lost the previous four meetings with the Celtics in Houston.

Spurs 97, Mavs 91
DALLAS — Tony Parker scored 33 points, Manu Ginobili had 25 and Tim Duncan added 22, lifting the San Antonio Spurs to a 97-91 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night.

Playing for the first time since losing to Miami by 30 on Monday night, the Spurs looked hungry and rested from the start, jumping ahead by 18 early in the second quarter. Then the Mavericks cranked up the defense and made things interesting.

Dallas tied it at 60 and was within a basket of tying it again midway through the fourth quarter when San Antonio’s trio of stars got rolling again. They sparked a 13-2 run that ended any drama and gave the Spurs a 3-1 win in the season series between the in-state rivals.

Dirk Nowitzki led Dallas with 23 points. The Mavs lost for the fifth time in eight games, with all the losses to potential playoff foes.

Shawn Marion scored 13 points in 14 first-half minutes, but hurt his right wrist and didn’t play the second half. The Mavericks missed his energy and scoring during their comeback bid, going instead with a three-guard lineup. They actually opened the game that way, too, but probably wouldn’t have finished with that lineup had he been healthy.

Reserves Jason Terry had 19 points and J.J. Barea had 13. Nowitzki was the only starter to score in double figures.

The Spurs didn’t need much more than their three stars. The rest of the club combined for just 17 points, eight from Gary Neal.

San Antonio’s reliance on Parker, Ginobili and Duncan caused some problems late in the third quarter and early in the fourth. The Spurs went 6:31 between baskets, missing 13 straight shots. Neal actually had the drought-buster, but it was set up by a backcourt steal by Ginobili.

The Spurs were intense from the start, with coach Gregg Popovich calling a timeout just 42 seconds into the game after a missed shot and a made shot by the Mavs. His team then went on a 10-0 run, followed by a 9-0 spurt later in the quarter. Dallas was so lackadaisical that Marion and Tyson Chandler each dropped the ball out of bounds in the backcourt with no one around on consecutive trips down the court.

The Mavs — who overcame an 18-point deficit in their previous game, at Golden State — finally got things going once they were down 40-22. They forced a 24-second violation and their confidence and intensity grew from there. They started pushing the action and got within 50-45 at halftime.

Dallas tied it midway through the third quarter on a jumper by Nowitzki over Duncan. Fans went crazy, but it was short-lived. San Antonio even managed to weather its long, late drought, mostly because the Mavs went through a shooting skid of their own.

Notes: Neither team scored the first 3:29 of the fourth quarter. … Why are the Spurs so good? Little things, like making inbounds passes tough. Kidd barely got one off in a spot when Dallas had just 2 seconds on the shot clock, and Ginobili deflected another from 6-foot-11 center Ian Mahinmi. … Nowitzki went 3 of 3 from the line, giving him 56 consecutive makes, extending what’s already the longest streak in the NBA this season.

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