NBA: Celtics rally from 26 down, shock Rockets

Marcus Smart helped complete a furious comeback for the Boston Celtics on two plays in which he never touched the ball.

Smart drew an offensive foul on James Harden with 7.3 seconds to play Thursday night, getting the ball back in time for Al Horford to sink a hook shot with 3.7 seconds left and cap a comeback from a 26-point deficit that gave the Celtics a 99-98 victory over the Houston Rockets at Boston.

“It just shows the value of Marcus Smart to our group and what he does for our team,” Horford said. “It all started with him in the second half. It was just a domino effect. That’s how special he is. And when he plays at that level we’re just a different team.”

After Horford’s shot, Smart did it again when he drew another foul on Harden, who finished with 34 points and 10 assists, and the Rockets ran out of time.


Kyrie Irving scored 26 points and Jayson Tatum 19 for the Celtics, who held the Rockets to only nine field goals in the second half while matching the largest comeback in the NBA this season.

“I’ve had a few comebacks, but this is a special one,” Irving said. “From just how we started, it was just so ugly. They came out firing. We just had to battle back. It took a lot. It took everybody.”

at San Antonio 119, New York 107: LaMarcus Aldridge scored 25 points and Pau Gasol had 17 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists for the Spurs, who are 17-2 at home and have won three in a row overall. Only two nights after playing with a full roster for the first time, the Spurs were without Kawhi Leonard, who was rested, and saw Rudy Gay exit in the third quarter because of a heel injury.

at Milwaukee 102, Minnesota 96: Eric Bledsoe scored 26 points, Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 22 and the Bucks rallied from a 20-point deficit, limiting the Timberwolves to a season-low 12 points in the fourth quarter.


at Orlando 102, Detroit 89: Elfrid Payton scored 19 points and reserve centers Bismack Biyombo and Marreese Speights, subbing for injured starter Nikola Vucevic, combined for 28 points and 18 rebounds in helping the Magic end a nine-game losing streak.

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