HOUSTON – Kevin Martin scored 25 points, rookie Patrick Patterson had 18 points and a career-high 12 rebounds and the Houston Rockets routed the Boston Celtics 93-77 on Friday night.
Kyle Lowry scored 20 and had nine assists and Chuck Hayes had 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Rockets, who've won three in a row and moved within 1½ games of Memphis in the race for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Jeff Green scored 17 points and Glen Davis added 16 for the Celtics, who've lost four of six. Boston slipped a half game behind Chicago for the best record in the East.
Paul Pierce scored 10 points, but went 2 for 10 from the field, and Rajon Rondo had only four points on 2-for-11 shooting. Boston's point total was a season low for a Rockets' opponent.
Houston blew it open in the second quarter, shooting 50 percent and outscoring Boston 34-18. As the deficit widened, the Celtics started losing their poise.
Kevin Garnett and Hayes traded shoves and words, and referee Jason Phillips gave them both technical fouls. On the next play, Davis fell into the crowd along the baseline after he was pushed by Jordan Hill, then got up yelling and pointing at Hill. The Houston backup forward was called for a personal foul, and Davis got a technical with 2:45 remaining.
A minute later, Delonte West was whistled for a flagrant foul when he hammered Hill under the Rockets' basket.
Houston took advantage of Boston's outbursts, hitting all the resulting free throws and extending the lead to 58-37. Lowry swished another 3-pointer just before the buzzer to put the Rockets ahead 62-40 at the break.
The Rockets went 7 for 14 from 3-point range and 15 for 15 from the free throw line in the first half. Martin had 19 points and Lowry had 16 in the first half, while the Celtics had no players in double-figures.
Patterson slipped inside for a two-handed dunk early in the third quarter, and the Rockets kept control. He slammed home a rebound later in the quarter to make it 81-52.
Boston's starters watched the final quarter from the bench. Houston coach Rick Adelman curiously left four of his five starters in until the final minute.
Houston went 21 for 23 from the free-throw line and outrebounded Boston 44-35.
The Rockets led 28-22 after the first quarter, and reserves Goran Dragic and Brad Miller hit 3s early in the second to push the lead into double digits. Boston coach Doc Rivers had his starting lineup back in by the midpoint of the second quarter, but Martin's 3 with 4:25 left gave Houston a 47-33 lead.
The Celtics let their frustration boil over after that, and the Rockets were never threatened again.
NOTES: Rivers said athletic trainer Ed Lacerte will have the final call on when C Shaquille O'Neal returns from a right Achilles' injury that's kept him out since Feb. 4. "He's not playing until the doctors say he can play," Rivers said. ... Rockets F Luis Scola sat out for the fifth straight game with a sore left knee. Adelman expected Scola to return to action next week. ... The Rockets had lost the previous four meetings with the Celtics in Houston.