James Harden leads Rockets over Celtics 101-89

James Harden leads Rockets over Celtics 101-89
December 14, 2012, 10:48 pm
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HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 14: Rajon Rondo #9 of the Boston Celtics watches as James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets dunks at the Toyota Center on December 14, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)


HOUSTON (AP) James Harden scored 21 points and Greg Smith added 20 to help the Houston Rockets to a 101-89 win over the Boston Celtics on Friday night.

Harden had 10 points, four assists, two rebounds and a steal in the third quarter as Houston built its lead.

The Rockets used a 9-2 run capped by a 3-pointer by Harden to open the period and go on top 52-47. They never trailed after that and cruised to the victory.

Paul Pierce led Boston with 18 points after scoring a season-high 34 in the Celtics' double-overtime win at Dallas on Wednesday.

Harden, who had scored 30 or more in his last two games, got off to a slow start before heating up in the third quarter.