Now the Celtics are losing at home, too.
The defending NBA champions dropped their sixth game in eight tries Wednesday night, falling to the Rockets 89-85 on Von Wafer's go-ahead three-pointer with 44 seconds left. It was the Celtics' first loss in Boston since a Nov. 14 defeat to Denver sent them on a 19-game winning streak.
"In our last timeout, you could see it in our guys' eyes. Like, 'Shoot, we're going to lose this home game,' " Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "It bothered them. You could see that. And I was thinking 'That's a good thing.' "
Yao Ming had 26 points and eight rebounds, clinching it on a putback with 12.9 seconds left to help the Rockets snap a three-game losing streak and a five-game road skid.
"Yao is unstoppable," said Rockets forward Ron Artest, who scored 17 points playing most of the game in foul trouble. "Then, when you have shooters surrounding him, it's hard to guard him. He shot right over the top. When he's playing like that, we're going to be tough to beat."
Paul Pierce scored 26 points, and Kevin Garnett had 18 and eight rebounds for the Celtics, who opened the defense of their 17th NBA title with victories in 27 of their first 29 games. But talk of running away with another championship has disappeared.
"Nobody said it was going to be easy. I know, at times, we do make it look easy," Garnett said. "We are a very, very confident team. ... I feel we have the mind-set to weather the storm."
This program aired on January 8, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.