With just under 22 seconds left Monday night at Toyota Center, Patrick Beverley ran down an offensive rebound with the Rockets leading the Boston Celtics by three, and it looked like they had secured the win. The Rockets won the game 107-106, but it got crazy at the end.
After coming up with the rebound, Beverley gave the ball up to James Harden. Boston needed to foul, but instead trapped Harden with Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley. Harden inadvertently elbowed Smart and was called for an offensive foul, which after a review became a flagrant. Smart made both free throws, bringing the Celtics within a point and they had the ball with 16.2 second left on the clock, giving them a chance to win the game.
Isaiah Thomas got to the rim, but he missed a layup. Al Horford and Harden fought for the rebound, but the Rockets guard knocked it out of bounds giving Boston one last shot. This time it was Horford, who took it, but his 4-footer rolled off the rim, Harden pulled down the rebound and the buzzer sounded, though some confusion almost cost the Rockets dearly.
The scoreboard at Toyota Center indicated the Rockets had a foul to give which is what Mike D’Antoni told his team, but it turned out, Harden’s flagrant counts as a team foul, meaning had the Rockets given a foul, the Celtics would’ve gone to the free throw line. They didn’t, and the Rockets improved to 14-7 on the season.
Harden led all scorers with 37 points. He added eight rebounds and eight assists. He tied a Rockets record by making all 18 of his free throws attempts.
Eric Gordon scored 19 points off the bench, draining four 3-pointers.
Horford led Boston with 21 while Thomas added 20 as the Celtics fall to 12-9.
Houston led the game 59-48 when the second half started, but Boston started the third quarter by hitting its first four shots from behind the 3-point arc, draining 5-of-7 in the quarter, while the Rockets were successful on just 1-of-9 shots from distance. Jae Crowder, Thomas, and Horford scored seven points in the quarter. Jonas Jerebko, chipped a pair of 3-pointers, so the Celtics led 83-77 going into the game’s final 12 minutes.
Boston continued to lead until Beverley stole a pass from Jerebko and laid it in with 3:44 left, leveling the game at 100. After Crowder missed a three, Montrezl Harrell gave the Rockets the lead with a dunk, only to see Bradley tie the game with a reverse layup, but after a timeout, the Rockets took the lead for good.
Harden knocked down a pair of free throws, then with 54.8 second left he drilled a 3 from 27 feet away to put the Rockets up five, forcing a Boston timeout, which subsequently saw Bradley hit a long jumper that was called a 2-pointer on the floor and remained that way after a review. The one point was the difference in the game.