Rockets face Celtics with revenge on their minds

Their losses have been so few and far between that the Rockets are rarely in position to circle a game on the schedule and set out for revenge against a particular opponent.

However, the Rockets (48-13) on Saturday will have the opportunity to make amends for one of their small handful of ugly defeats when they host the Boston Celtics at Toyota Center. Houston blew a 26-point lead in falling 99-98 at TD Garden on Dec. 28, the fourth setback in what would develop into a season-long five-game losing skid for the then-shorthanded Rockets.

Houston played that night without starters Chris Paul and Clint Capela and reserve swingman Luc Mbah a Moute. The Rockets nevertheless led 64-38 early in the second half before coming undone, their stellar offense unraveling against the Celtics’ suffocating defense soon thereafter.

“There’s always things we’d like to tinker with, we just don’t want to go crazy thinking we can solve everything,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. “Some of it is you just make shots (or) you miss shots and we’re in a period now … after the All-Star break we’re not going to be as sharp as we were before. But we’ll give it another couple weeks and we’ll see.”

The reigning MVP had 43 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 56 seconds to play, and the Thunder scored the final 10 points of the game to escape with a 124-116 victory over the Suns on Friday night.

“They always play us tough, especially here,” Westbrook said. “We stayed with it and made big plays down the stretch.”

Paul George scored 20 points for Oklahoma City. Westbrook also had 14 rebounds and eight assists.

“His passion, his energy that he brings every night is Cheap Kids Football Jerseys unbelievable,” Phoenix guard Devin Booker said.

Booker scored 39 points, his career high for a home game. At 21 years, 123 days old, he became the third-youngest player in NBA history to reach 4,000 career points. Only Cheap Jerseys Wholesale LeBron James and Kevin Durant were younger.

Booker said he’s grown to admire Westbrook more and more.