BOSTON - Now the Celtics are losing at home, too. The defending NBA champions dropped their sixth game in eight tries Wednesday night, falling to the Houston Rockets , 89-85, on Von Wafer's go-ahead 3-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. "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."
Kevin Garnett had 18 points for the Celtics, who opened the season winning 27 of their first 29 games.
"Nobody said it was going to be easy. I know, at times, we do make it look easy," Garnett said. "We are a very confident team. I feel we have the mind-set to weather the storm."
Jazz 116, Hornets 90: In Salt Lake City, Paul Millsap had 27 points and 14 rebounds to extend his NBA-leading double-double streak to 19 games, the most by a Utah player since John Stockton had 18 in a row in 1992. Chris Paul had 26 points and seven assists for the Hornets, who were held to two field goals in the second quarter.
Timberwolves 129, Thunder 87: In Minneapolis, Randy Foye matched his career high with 32 points in just three quarters, and the Wolves won their fourth straight game. Al Jefferson added 21 points and 13 rebounds for Minnesota, which has won six of its last eight after a 13-game skid dropped them to 4-23 on Dec. 23.
76ers 110, Bucks 105: In Milwaukee, Andre Miller hit a 3-pointer with 28 seconds left to turn back a Milwaukee rally. He finished with 28 points.
Magic 106, Hawks 102: In Atlanta, Dwight Howard had 23 points and 19 rebounds, but the Magic nearly blew a 21-point lead. Mike Bibby missed a breakaway layup that would have pulled the Hawks within two points with just under 11/2 minutes remaining.
Nets 100, Grizzlies 89: In East Rutherford, Vince Carter had 25 points and a season-high 12 assists as the Nets notched their third straight home victory. Despite playing without leading scorer Devin Harris (sore right hamstring), the Nets raced to an early double-digit lead and never trailed in a game for the first time this season. The Nets hope Harris, averaging 23.1 points, can return Friday at Milwaukee.
Cavaliers 111, Bobcats 81: In Cleveland, LeBron James scored 21 points before resting the entire fourth quarter as the Cavaliers warmed up for their highly anticipated matchup with Boston by moving their record at home to 18-0. Cleveland will host the defending NBA champions Friday.
Raptors 99, Wizards 93: In Washington, the Raptors, down to nine players, got 25 points from Andrea Bargnani and 18 from Chris Bosh. The Raptors traded Hassan Adams to the Los Angeles Clippers in a money-saving move earlier in the day.
Nuggets 108, Heat 97: In Denver, Chauncey Billups, Linas Kleiza and J.R. Smith scored 21 points apiece as the Nuggets won their fifth straight game. Dwyane Wade had 31 points for the Heat, which is 1-3 in its last four games.
Heat trade Livingston to Grizzlies: The Miami Heat traded guard Shaun Livingston and cash to the Memphis Grizzlies for a conditional 2012 second-round pick. Livingston, who signed with the Heat in October with hopes of resurrecting his career after a knee injury, was waived by the Grizzlies later Wednesday.
Nuggets trade Atkins: The Oklahoma City Thunder have acquired another first-round draft pick along with guard Chucky Atkins in a trade that sent seldom-used 7-0 center Johan Petro to the Nuggets.
Injury to Odom not serious: Tests showed Lamar Odom's right knee injury is not serious, and the Lakers forward is day to day.