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Rockets unable to sustain hot start in loss to the Celtics

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Despite a hot start, the Houston Rockets suffered their 16th consecutive loss after falling to the Boston Celtics. 

NBA: Boston Celtics at Houston Rockets Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Rockets showed heart until the sound of the final buzzer. But it wasn’t enough to record their first victory since Feb. 4 in Memphis. The Rockets suffered a 134-107 loss to the Boston Celtics, Sunday night, inside the Toyota Center in Houston. With the loss, the Rockets extended their losing streak to 16, which is now the second-longest in franchise history.

Victor Oladipo led the way for the Rockets with 26 points (9-23 FG, 3-10 3PT), six rebounds and four assists.

Although they ended the night on the wrong side of a 27-point blowout, there was a small amount of hope that the Rockets’ losing streak would come to an end during the first eight minutes of the game.

Defense prompted Houston into a 28-20 lead over Boston midway through the first quarter. The Rockets forced the Celtics into committing five turnovers in the first period, a defensive stretch led by Jae’Sean Tate — who recorded four steals in the quarter. But once the Celtics stop turning the ball over at an alarming rate, Boston took full control of the game. In addition to his four steals, Tate ended the night with nine points and six rebounds for Houston.

The Celtics ended the first quarter on an 18-6 run to take a 38-34 lead into the second period. The Rockets gave up a 16-2 run to start the second quarter, as Boston’s lead grew to 19 points. Houston battled back to cut their deficit down to 13 entering the halftime break. But the Celtics put the game out of reach during the third quarter.

During the third, the Celtics shot 58.3 percent from the field while draining five of their nine attempts from behind the arc. Their hot shooting resulted in the Celtics outscoring the Rockets 38-19 entering the final period.

Kemba Walker led the Celtics on their third-quarter massacre by scoring 11 of his 16 points in the period.

The only silver lining in this game was the continuous progression of Houston’s young players. After recording his first career double-double during his last contest, Kenyon Martin Jr. scored a career-best 21 points in 31 minutes. Mason Jones played all of the fourth quarter, where he scored a dozen for the Rockets.

Kevin Porter Jr. started the night hot. He scored all of his 11 points during the first quarter, but foul trouble interfered with him sustaining his momentum. After opening the game shooting three for five from the floor, Porter missed all of his final six shot attempts.

The Celtics were led by Jaylen Brown behind a 24-point performance. His running mate Jayson Tatum added 23 points in 28 minutes of play. Similar to every team throughout this losing streak, Boston took advantage of the Rockets’ lack of size by winning the battle of the boards 55-37. Tristan Thompson and Robert Williams III each pulled down 13 boards.

Following the loss, the Rockets will try to record their first victory in 38 days on Tuesday, when they take on Clint Capela and the Atlanta Hawks. Tip-off is slated for 7:00 P.M. CT inside the Toyota Center.