Celtics Hold Off Raptors For 12th Straight Victory


Published on November 13 2017 6:12 am
Last Updated on November 13 2017 6:12 am


 Al Horford turned back the clock in his return from a two-game absence with a concussion.

Horford scored 21 points on 8-of-9 shooting to help the Boston Celtics hang on to beat the Toronto Raptors 95-94 on Sunday for their 12th straight victory.

"He's playing young again," teammate Terry Rozier said.

Horford had 15 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists against his former team in Atlanta on Monday night, the same day an elbow to the head from Kent Bazemore sent him into the NBA's concussion protocol. Horford also missed nine games last season with a concussion.

Horford disagreed with Rozier's assessment, thinking he's playing even better.

"I don't know if young Al Horford played like this, to be honest," the former four-time All-Star said. "You know, it's been years of just working on my game and try to play this new way."

Boston (12-2) was playing without Kyrie Irving after he took an inadvertent elbow to the face from teammate Aron Baynes on Friday night against Charlotte. Irving has a minor facial fracture but has not been diagnosed with a concussion as initially feared.

Jaylen Brown added 18 points, and Rozier helped fill in for Irving with 16 points off the bench. Boston shot just 40.2 percent from the field.

DeMar DeRozan scored 24 points, and Kyle Lowry had 19 points and seven assists for Toronto. The Raptors dropped to 7-5 after winning two straight.

"They are the best team in the NBA right now, 12 in a row," Lowry said. "They're playing unbelievable, everyone is picking up slack."

Jayson Tatum's acrobatic layup with 1:26 remaining in the fourth quarter put the Celtics up 95-90.

DeRozan missed a potential go-ahead stepback jumper with 19 seconds remaining. Tatum got the rebound, but elbowed Fred VanVleet in the face for an offensive foul that was confirmed by video review.

DeRozan had another look to give Toronto the win, but missed a turnaround jumper with 2 seconds left. Serge Ibaka scooped up the rebound, but lost the ball as time expired.

"He shook him, he was wide open, vaulted up, and I'll take that shot 999 times out of 1,000," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said about DeRozan's effort.

Brown, who was guarding DeRozan on the final possession, was a bit surprised himself that the shot didn't go down.

"That's a shot that DeMar DeRozan probably hits nine times out of ten," Brown said. "I got a late contest, but he missed this one so we'll take the win."

Rockets 118, Pacers 95

Houston Rockets scored early and often.

James Harden had 26 points and a season-high 15 assists and the Rockets beat the Indiana Pacers 118-95 on Sunday night.

"We're preaching it. Getting off to better starts and not trying to fight our way back into games. We've been doing that as of late," Harden said.

The Rockets improved to 11-3, never trailing and leading by as many as 23.

The Rockets overwhelmed the Pacers from the start, jumping out to a 13-2 lead. Houston continued to pile it on early and often, outscoring the Pacers 24-9 during the first 6 minutes.

Indianapolis native Eric Gordon had 21 points, and Clint Capela had 20 points and 17 rebounds for the Rockets on the way to Houston's sixth straight victory.

Houston outscored Indiana 46-38 in the paint, but their most impressive work on the offensive end of the floor came beyond the 3-point line, making 17 3-pointers. Houston's defense was also a high point for the Rockets with 10 of Indiana's 13 turnovers coming by way of a steal.

"It was a professional win," Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni said. "They came in and they took care of business right from the get go. We played well. We've been playing well. We're going to keep it going ... we just don't want to get too excited, we have another game Tuesday."

The lone bright spot of the game for the Pacers came in the second quarter when they managed to cut Houston's lead to 39-34. Victor Oladipo had 28 points, and Domantas Sabonis added 17 off the bench for Indiana, and Lance Stephenson had eight points and 10 assists.

But the Rockets were simply too much for the Pacers. Houston went into halftime leading once again by double digits, 63-51 and put it away in the third quarter with the same offensive mindset that they started the game with. The Rockets led 87-71 at the start of the fourth and never looked back.

Myles Turner finished with 13 points and eight rebounds for Indiana and a very clear understanding of how and when the game got away from the Pacers.

"The start," Turner said. "We got off to a bad start and it's hard (to climb back) ... (Houston) cut out from the first play. They executed their stuff, got out and ran and our communication was really bad in transition."

Sunday, November 12 Scoreboard

Boston 95, Toronto 94

Detroit 112, Miami 103

Houston 118, Indiana 95

Oklahoma City 112, Dallas 99


Monday, November 13 Schedule (All Times Central)

Sacramento at Washington, 6 p.m.

Cleveland at at New York, 6:30 p.m.

Memphis at Milwaukee, 7 p.m.

Atlanta at New Orleans, 7 p.m.

Los Angeles Lakers at Phoenix, 8 p.m.

Minnesota at Utah, 8 p.m.

Denver at Portland, 9 p.m.

Orlando at Golden State, 9:30 p.m.

Philadelphia at Los Angeles Clippers, 9:30 p.m.