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January 11. 2013 10:38PM

Bench gives Celtics a boost over Rockets

BOSTON -- Paul Pierce scored 11 of his 23 points in the third quarter and host Boston benefited from another strong effort from the bench to extend its season-high winning streak to five with a 103-91 win over the Houston Rockets on Friday night.

Kevin Garnett added 17 points on 8-for-12 shooting and reserves Jared Sullinger and Courtney Lee added 14 points apiece. The Celtics' bench chipped in with 40 points, two days removed from scoring 47 on 59.4 percent shooting in an 87-79 victory over Phoenix.

James Harden finished with 24 points, ending his string of games with at least 25 points at 14. Chandler Parsons added 18 for the Rockets, who have dropped two in a row after winning five straight contests.

Pierce drilled a pair of 3-pointers and scored 10 of his team's first 11 points in the third quarter as Boston seized a 64-47 advantage just 2:41 into the session.

Carlos Delfino and Parsons sank 3-pointers to ignite a 12-0 run and bring Houston to within two at 83-81. Pierce answered by making a 20-footer to jump-start a 9-1 run and the Celtics never looked back.

GAME NOTEBOOK: Pierce eclipsed former Atlanta Hawks star Dominique Wilkins for 11th place on the NBA's all-time scoring list among players competing for just one team. Pierce has 23,298 points in his career. ... The Celtics defeated the Rockets for just the second time in six outings ... Houston missed eight of its first nine free-throw attempts and finished a paltry 12-for-29.


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