Rockets upset Celtics as the NBA takes backseat to Auburn/Oregon

Aaron Brooks

Maybe it was because the tease of Kevin Garnett‘s return from injury turned out to be just a tease. Maybe it was because Kevin Martin (wrist) sat out as a late scratch. Maybe it was because Marquis Daniels (19 pts) led Boston in scoring and Jordan Hill played starter’s minutes for Houston. Or maybe it was because the BCS National Championship Game made it so nobody was really thinking about the NBA last night. Whatever the reason, Rockets/Celtics felt like a preseason game, and the C’s appeared appropriately disinterested … Aaron Brooks (24 pts) led a Rockets squad that went small out of necessity — Brooks started at two-guard while Kyle Lowry (17 pts, 8 asts) ran point — and they kept the score just out of reach most of the way before the Celtics tried to rally at the end. Down 10 with two minutes left, Ray Allen hit a three and Paul Pierce added another to cut the lead to four. With about 30 seconds left, Houston was still clinging to that lead, but Boston wouldn’t let them complete an inbound pass or get it across midcourt. They came within a blink of an eight-second violation, and after a few tries finally got it in to Brooks, who was able to ice it at the free throw line. And you wouldn’t believe this, but Tommy Heinsohn didn’t like some of the calls down the stretch. He’s usually so understanding of the referee’s plight … Big Baby and Patrick Patterson starred in the Ed’s Big & Tall Theater production of Rondo vs. White Chocolate, when Baby made a diving save of a loose ball right at Patterson’s feet that looked almost exactly like Rajon Rondo‘s famous play from last year’s playoffs. Instead of getting up, unleashing a crossover and scoring, though, Big Baby passed ahead to Von Wafer for a highlight-reel dunk … The Chicago Bulls are developing an identity, and fortunately it’s one that will still work once Joakim Noah comes back from injury: They are a two-and-a-half-man team on offense that wins ballgames when they play tough defense. Noah doesn’t need to be involved offensively and he thrives on D, which is perfect for him … Derrick Rose (29 pts, 7 asts) and Carlos Boozer (27 pts, 11 rebs) were again the alpha and omega for Chicago’s offense against the Pistons last night, while Luol Deng chipped in 17 points. Meanwhile, the defense shut down Detroit to the tune of just 27 points in the second half …

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