Harden, Smith lift Rockets by Celtics

Posted Dec. 15, 2012, at 12:22 a.m.

HOUSTON — James Harden scored 21 points and Greg Smith added 20 on 8-of-9 shooting off the bench as Houston held off the Boston Celtics 101-89 in NBA action Friday night.

Chandler Parsons collected 15 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for the Rockets, who have won back-to-back games while holding opponents under 100 points. They had let their previous eight opponents eclipse the century mark.

Paul Pierce scored 18 points and Rajon Rondo recorded 15 points and 13 assists for the Celtics, who dropped their third straight road game.

Houston came out strong in the first half, pushing the lead to as much as 32-23 on Carlos Delfino’s 3-pointer with 9:48 left in the second quarter. Boston woke up after that shot, closing the period with a 22-11 run to take the lead into the half.

The Rockets scored the first six points of the third quarter to reclaim the lead and never trailed again. The Celtics would pull within 88-83 on Pierce’s 3-pointer with 5:09 left, but Harden responded with his own 3-pointer and put it away with a pair of free throws four minutes later.

GAME NOTEBOOK: Houston PG Jeremy Lin was held to five points on 2-of-6 shooting in 27 minutes and was off the floor in the fourth quarter, when Toney Douglas took over the point. … Rondo committed a season-high seven turnovers. … The Celtics head to San Antonio for the second stop of a three-game trip on Saturday.

Thunder 113, Kings 103: Thunder 113, Kings 103: Kevin Durant scored a game-high 31 points and Serge Ibaka and Russell Westbrook added double-doubles as host Oklahoma City notched its 10th straight win overall and its ninth in a row at home.

Ibaka had 18 points and 11 rebounds and Westbrook contributed 13 points and as many assists for the Thunder, who have won 10 of the past 11 meetings — including all eight home contests since moving to Oklahoma City. Kevin Martin added 18 points off the bench and Thabo Sefolosha scored 15.

Isaiah Thomas scored 26 points and Tyreke Evans added 21 for the Kings, who have lost three straight overall and dropped to 1-9 on the road.

Sacramento took its only lead of the game at 24-22 on Evans’ three-point play late in the first quarter. The Thunder used a 22-4 run to push it to 56-36 with just over two minutes left in the half.

The Kings chipped away and pulled within 109-103 with 1:02 left, but Durant hit four straight free throws down the stretch to seal it.

Bucks 90, Cavaliers 86: Monta Ellis scored 20 of his season-high 33 points in the second half to lift visiting Milwaukee to its fourth consecutive victory.

Brandon Jennings added 16 points and Larry Sanders had 10 points and as many rebounds as the Bucks extended their winning streak against Cleveland to nine games.

Kyrie Irving scored 26 points and backcourt mate C.J. Miles added 17 for the Cavaliers, who tumbled to their seventh loss in eight games.

In a game featuring a series of alternating spurts, Miles scored eight points in an 18-6 run to put Cleveland ahead by three in the third quarter. Ellis countered with nine points in a 14-0 burst to help the Bucks build an 11-point lead en route to taking a 72-67 edge into the fourth quarter.

Miles, who was making his third straight start, buried a pair of 3-points to ignite an 11-2 run that pulled the Cavaliers within 80-78. Ellis responded with six straight points to extend the lead to 86-80 with 2:41 left and Cleveland never got closer than four points.

 

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