The Celtics rebounded quickly from one of their ugliest stretches of the season Wednesday night when they dumped James Harden and the Rockets, 120-109 at the Garden.
Prior to the victory over Houston, the C’s had dropped three straight (two at home to sub-.500 teams) and there was some in-fighting between Marcus Smart and the C’s coaching staff.
Less than 24 hours after the Smart blowup, though, the Celts turned in one of their more impressive performances of the season in beating the 34-15 Rockets (the third seed in the rugged Western Conference).
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Everything seemed to be smoothed over when it came to Smart, as he played the most minutes of any Celtics bench player against Houston, with 31 minutes on the floor. He apologized for the incident prior to the Houston game.
“To my coaching staff and my teammates and the Celtics organization – I apologize for my actions (against Washington),” Smart tweeted out. “In hating to lose, my actions were childish and unprofessional and never under any circumstances do I have the right to act that way and for that I sincerely apologize. I’m a role model to kids and a player for Coach. I’m sorry.”
Smart was a plus-12, with seven points, six assists and four rebounds Wednesday against the Rockets.
The Celtics’ starting point guard, Isaiah Thomas, was again brilliant against Houston – pumping in 38 points. Boston’s little engine hasn’t scored less than 24 points in a game in 2017.
The Celtics won’t get much rest in the coming week as they’ll play five games in seven nights. The stretch begins Friday (7:30 p.m., CSNNE) at home against Orlando (18-29) and then the C’s will hop on a jet to play at Milwaukee (21-24) the next night. The Celtics would be wise to grab Ws against both below-.500 teams if they want to creep into one of the top two spots in the East standings. First place Cleveland had lost three games in a row and second place Toronto had lost five games in a row heading into play Thursday night.