Celtics-Rockets takeaways: Porzingis powers C’s to bounce-back win originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Three Key Storylines
Taking on the Ime Udoka-led Rockets in Houston, the C’s offense dominated the first half with 70 points. They saw their 17-point lead shrink to three in the fourth quarter, but they held on to escape Toyota Center with a 116-107 victory.
The Celtics will head to Dallas for the second night of their back-to-back Monday vs. the Mavericks. First, here are three takeaways from Sunday’s game.
Kristaps Porzingis leads the way
Porzingis picked up where he left off with 15 points in the first quarter for the second consecutive game. This time, his impressive effort propelled Boston to victory.
The Celtics big man found his groove from behind the 3-point line early and stayed hot throughout the night. He made six of his 11 shots from beyond the arc, eclipsing his previous season-high of five made 3s set on opening night vs. the New York Knicks.
Porzingis notched 20 first-half points for the first time since March 28 when he did it for the Washington Wizards against the C’s.
“The Unicorn” ended up with a game-high 32 points (11-20 FG), just three short of his season-high and his fourth 30-point performance as a Celtic. He also made his presence felt on the defensive end with five blocks.
According to Celtics.com’s Taylor Snow, it’s only the 10th time in NBA history that a player has logged five blocks and six 3-pointers in a game. Porzingis and former Celtic Raef LaFrentz are the only players to accomplish the feat twice.
Kristaps Porzingis logged 5 blocks and 6 threes tonight – just the 10th time in NBA history that’s been done.
Porzingis and former Celtic Raef LaFrentz are the only players to do it twice. pic.twitter.com/xJhvsvXeHq
— Taylor Snow (@taylorcsnow) January 22, 2024
Derrick White does it all
Just like Friday night, Porzingis and White were the stars of the show for the C’s.
White helped Porzingis carry the offense with 16 first-half points on 7-of-12 shooting. He also joined the block party with two blocks of his own.
White slowed down offensively in the second half, finishing with 21 points on 9-of-20 shooting (3-8 3-PT). He continued to dominate the boards, however, totaling a career-high 12 rebounds. His previous career-high was seven.
This was White’s third consecutive game with 20-plus points. He continues to show why he belongs in the All-Star conversation.
Another sluggish third quarter
The third quarter has been Boston’s bugaboo for most of the campaign. Those issues were evident again on Sunday night.
The Celtics took a 15-point lead into the half and watched it dwindle to five points in the third. Houston went on multiple runs, including an 11-0 run in which the C’s went more than four minutes without a basket.
Boston’s offensive struggles carried into the early part of the fourth quarter, but it eventually was able to snap out of the funk and hit enough shots to earn a hard-fought win. The Celtics are now 12-9 in games that they’ve lost the third quarter and 20-1 in games that they’ve won the frame.