Tonight’s contest between the Houston Rockets and the Boston Celtics was equal parts frustrating and entertaining. The Rockets earned 20 free throws before half-time. (They finished with 38 FTA to the Celtics 16) However the Celtics fought through adversity. The Celtics showed us everything Celtics fans have waited all season to see. They flashed hustle, grit, and intensity on defense. Especially in the fourth quarter. They spread the floor and attacked the rim and scored points in transition.

Isaiah Thomas Stellar Again

Thomas was an absolute monster. Isaiah finished with 38 points on 15 for 27 shooting as well as 5 rebounds and 9 assists. The King in the Fourth did not disappoint, dropping 13 in the final frame. Thomas was efficient as well, shooting better than 50% from the floor and hitting 40% of his threes.

Isaiah Thomas has scored 38 or more points seven(!) times in the past month. The unbelievable run continues.- Brian Robb (@CelticsHub) January 26, 2017

Elusive First Win Against An Elite Team

The Houston Rockets are 34-15 and boast one of the most impressive offenses in all the NBA. On top of that James Harden is an MVP candidate, scoring 28 a game and averaging more than 11 assists per game. Beating the Rockets on a night where they get to the stripe 38 times is absolutely impressive. Many have bemoaned the lack of a signature win this season for the celtics.Well, it’s safe to say after tonight that they’ve got at least one.

Celtics 120, Rockets 109. Final.Boston’s first win vs. an elite team this year.

Isaiah Thomas with 38 points, 8 assists.

– Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) January 26, 2017

Crowder And Horford Both Impressive

Al Horford immediately made his presence felt after the 2nd half tip-off. Horford was blocking shots, and throwing down loud dunks between finding teammates for easy scores. Horford scored 20 points and recorded 9 assists as well. But it was his presence in the third and fourth quarters defensively that was most impressive. Horford was a big reason the Celtics were able to defend the pick and roll. He was able to cover the guards long enough and also get back to his assignment. He was helping on the ball even when not a part of the play, without losing sight of his man.

Horford finished with 3 steals and 2 blocks but even those numbers do not reveal the totality of his impact on the defensive end.

Jae Crowder scored 23 points and grabbed 10 boards. Crowder was a big part of the fourth quarter run that put the Celtics ahead. Crowder was able to find loose balls and finish in transition a few times in the final frame. Crowder was consistent and reliable on both sides of the ball tonight.

Magic On Friday

The Celtics will play the Orlando Magic on Friday. They will again be at home and the game will begin at 7:30 PM. The Celtics have an off-day tomorrow, but Friday’s game will be the first half of another back to back.