Rockets, Celtics meet in Boston

( - The Houston Rockets will pay a visit to the Boston Celtics Friday night at TD Garden.

The Rockets have won three straight and nine of their last 12 games, including Wednesday's 99-94 victory versus the Dallas Mavericks.

Josh Smith scored 18 points off the bench, James Harden added 17 and Donatas Motiejunas finished with 16 for the Rockets, who prevailed despite shooting 40.9 percent and scored 31 points off 24 Dallas turnovers.

"When we've got so many guys contributing it's kind of hard to beat us," Harden said.

Rockets center Dwight Howard missed his second straight game due to a sprained right ankle. Howard is expected to miss extended time.

Houston will visit Detroit on Saturday and is 16-7 on the road.

The Celtics are back home after a six-game western tour (3-3) and will host the Rockets and Miami Heat.

Boston ended the trek with Wednesday's 110-98 loss at Minnesota, as Jared Sullinger scored 16 points and Marcus Thornton followed with 15 off the bench. Avery Bradley finished with 13 points for the Celtics, who shot 46.2 percent and committed 13 turnovers for 18 Minnesota points.

"Tonight we kind of hurt ourselves a little, so this is a tough one," said Boston guard Evan Turner.

Turner is probable Friday with a sprained thumb.

Boston will try to stop a two-game slide at home and is 9-13 in Beantown this season.

The Celtics dropped a 104-90 decision in Houston back on Nov. 1 in their second game of the season and Sullinger scored 14 points. Harden made all 14 of his free throws en route to 26 points for the Rockets,

Houston has won three in a row and seven of the last nine meetings with Boston.