(The Sports Xchange) – Isaiah Thomas worked his fourth-quarter magic again Wednesday night, leading Boston to a 120-109 victory over the Houston Rockets that ended the Celtics’ three-game losing streak.
Thomas scored 11 consecutive Boston points in the fourth quarter as the Celtics (27-18) came back from 11 points down in the first half and won going away at the end.
With several members of the New England Patriots sitting courtside, Thomas, leading the NBA in fourth-quarter scoring (10 points per game coming in), put on a show with 13 points and five assists to win his unofficial duel with fellow MVP candidate James Harden.
Harden was called for a flagrant-1 foul for flailing his left hand out and hitting and cutting Boston’s Jonas Jerebko. That led to Jerebko hitting two free throws for the personal foul before Thomas hit the pair for the flagrant to put Boston ahead to stay, triggering a 13-2 run.
Thomas, notching his 29th straight 20-point game, added nine assists and five rebounds in the win.
Harden finished with 30 points, 12 assists and six rebounds but turned the ball over seven times and was 3 of 15 from the floor before hitting three late baskets that didn’t matter. He was 2 of 11 from 3-point range.
Jae Crowder, who played the majority of the defense on Harden with Avery Bradley out, had 23 points, 10 rebounds and four assists, and Al Horford scored 20 and added nine assists in the win.
The Rockets (34-15) absorbed their sixth loss in nine games. They now have only their second two-game losing streak of the season.
Ryan Anderson scored 19 points and Sam Dekker came off the bench to contribute 15 points in the defeat.
The Rockets led by as many as 11 points in a first half that saw the Celtics guilty of 19 personal and three technical fouls.