Boston Celtics

On Saturday night the Boston Celtics became the fifteenth consecutive team to lose to James Harden and the Houston Rockets in a 123-120 loss out in Texas.

When the Celtics arrived in the Lone Star State riding a four-game winning streak, they found themselves playing a Rockets team with the NBA’s best record and the top spot in the West. And they just so happen to be riding a 14-game winning streak of their own.

AUDIO: Brad Stevens Pregame Interview with Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell

In the first five minutes of the game, the Celtics knocked down three of their first four three-pointers and would go onto finish the quarter shooting 67 percent from deep.

The Celtics struggled with ball possession and control in the first, committing five turnovers in the quarter. But they were able to seal things up down the closing stretch of the quarter, with a 10-0 run, to take a 32-30 lead into the second.

Almost two minutes into the second, the Rockets were finally able to get on the board to end the C’s 14-0 run, which eventually turned into an 18-2 run and a 40-32 lead for the Celtics with just under 10 minutes to play in the half.

After outscoring the Rockets in each of the first two quarters, the Celtics found themselves taking a 64-59 lead into halftime.

Terry Rozier III led all C’s scorers with 10 points (5-7 FG) in the first-half, in addition to the C’s bench dropping 23 points. And the Celtics shot an impressive 54 percent from the field and 62 percent from three in the first-half.

And speaking of three-pointers, they were certainly expected to come at a huge clip between these two teams, and they sure did. Just in the first-half, they attempted a combined 33 three-pointers. And they would finish the game with 73 three-point attempts.

RELATED: Celtics Erase 26-Point Deficit To Knock Off Rockets, 99-98

The Rockets were able to make a big push in the third, after trading baskets and possessions with the Celtics, to pull within three of the C’s to start the fourth, at 89-86.

During the fourth quarter, the Celtics led by as much as six points with four minutes to play, but that didn’t phase the Rockets.

Ball control wasn’t an issue again for the C’s until the final stretch, when they committed four costly turnovers, while missing some untimely shots.

The Rockets would go on a 16-7 run during the final four minutes of the game, to pull out a 123-120 win over the Celtics after Marcus Smart missed a tough fall-away game-tying basket.

Rockets guard Eric Gordon led all scorers with 29 points (7-11 3PT) and three rebounds. And All-Star James Harden had a 26-point (6-18 FG), 10-assist double-double.

With seven of nine Celtics who played in the game scoring in double-digits, it was Marcus Morris who led all C’s scorers with 21 points (5-7 3PT) and four rebounds. And Greg Monroe had his second consecutive double-digit scoring game as a Celtic, with a solid 18 points (6-9 FG) and six rebounds in 19 minutes on the floor.

Kyrie Irving scored 18 points on 35 percent shooting from the field, while knocking down four-of-five free throw attempts to go with six assists.

RELATED: Irving’s The NBA’s “Player Of The Month” For February In Our Books

As a team, the Celtics finished the game shooting 48 percent from the field and 54 percent from deep, with the Rockets shooting 45 percent and 39 percent, respectively.

The Celtics bench has been hot of late, combining for 67 points against the Rockets and 61 on Wednesday night against the Charlotte Hornets. During Saturday’s game we got a glimpse into what a shortened C’s bench could potentially look like come playoff time.

Since returning from the All-Star break, the Celtics had won four straight, while beating opponents by an average of 15 points before Saturday night’s loss to the Rockets.

UP NEXT: The Celtics (44-20) will play the second of a three-game road trip Monday night against the Chicago Bulls (21-41). Catch the call of the game with Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell, live on 98.5 The Sports Hub. Pre-game coverage begins at 7:30 p.m., with tip-off set for 8:00 p.m.

—  By John ‘The Dude’ Hardiman, 985TheSportsHub.com

John Hardiman is a Digital Producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for John? Hit him up on Twitter @HardiDude or e-mail him at john.hardiman@bbgi.com.