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Struggling Celtics welcome Houston to Beantown
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Boston Celtics have been in this losing position before, but that was seven years ago.
The Celtics are mired in a season-high eight-game losing streak and hope the trend comes to an end Monday versus the Houston Rockets in the opener of a three-game homestand at TD Garden.
Boston last lost eight in a row during a franchise-worst 18-game slide from Jan. 7 - Feb. 11, 2007. Boston came up short on a recent five-game road trip, which culminated with Saturday's 112-104 setback at Portland. Avery Bradley scored a game-high 25 points and Jared Sullinger added 14 and 10 rebounds for the Celtics, who lost the last three quarters after a 32-27 edge heading into the second stanza.
"We haven't been able to finish games out the way we've wanted to, we had a chance to win multiple games on this road trip. It's just unfortunate," Bradley said.
Jeff Green (16), Jordan Crawford (13), Jerryd Bayless (12) and Kris Humphries (10) rounded out the double-digit scorers for Boston.
The Celtics are 8-10 at home and averaging 95.3 points per game. They are facing a Houston squad that is fourth in the league with 105.3 ppg. On a positive note, Celtics guard Rajon Rondo, who is still recovering from knee surgery, is hoping to return for the All-Star break next month.
"It may be this month (or) next month," Rondo told reporters before Friday's game against Golden State. "It'll be before All-Star break."
Toronto and the Los Angeles Lakers will visit Boston on its homestand.
Meanwhile, the Rockets will continue their four-game road trip and are 1-1 after losing in Atlanta and beating Washington. In Saturday's 114-107 victory over the Wizards, James Harden scored 25 points to go along with eight rebounds and five assists. Harden has scored 25 or more points in five straight games, posting an average of 32.6 ppg in that time.
Dwight Howard scored 23 points and pulled down seven rebounds and Terrence Jones recorded a double-double of 19 points and 17 rebounds for Houston, which has won three of four and six of its last nine games. Jeremy Lin finished with 18 points and eight assists and the Rockets rebounded from an 83-80 loss to the Hawks the night before.
The game was delayed at the start of the second and third quarters due to a leak in the Verizon Center roof that continuously dripped water onto the floor at halfcourt near the scorer's table.
"Luckily we go into a rhythm after the first delay and were able to build a lead," Harden said.
Houston will close the trek Wednesday at New Orleans and is 9-9 as the visitor this season.
Rockets forward Chandler Parsons has missed three straight games with a knee and hamstring issue and is probable against the Celtics. He is averaging 17.2 points per game this season.
The Rockets crushed Boston, 109-85, at home on Nov. 19, as Jones scored 24 points and Harden added 15. The Rockets have won five of seven matchups with the Celtics and are 8-4 in the past 12 trips to Beantown.
01/13 10:08:37 ET