The Houston Rockets went undefeated in the month of February, recording the first perfect month in three years, and a new month did not mean new results on Saturday night. The Rockets were able to hold off the Boston Celtics on their home floor for a 123-120 victory, extending their win streak to a season-high 15 games. Eric Gordon led the way with 29 points off the bench, while James Harden finished with 26 points and 10 assists in their first game of March. The Celtics shot 54 percent from three-point range on the night, but the most crucial three-pointer did not fall, as Marcus Smart just missed a fade-away three-pointer over Chris Paul as time expired. Boston did lead by six in the fourth quarter before the Rockets used a 10-2 run to take the lead for good. Al Horford had two missed shots in two of the Celtics' final possessions, which haunted them late. The streak for the Rockets is now tied for the second-longest in franchise history, which was done twice by the Hakeem Olajuwon teams in the 1990's. Only the 22-game win streak from the 2007-2008 season ranks higher in Rockets' history. They also had a win streak of 14 in a row this season, which took place from November 16th to December 18th. They will put their current streak on the line in a tough road test on Tuesday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Celtics were led by Marcus Morris's 21 points, as they had won four in a row, and now move on to face off with the Chicago Bulls on Monday.
Duke Gets Revenge on Rival UNC
The Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina Tar Heels have had very similar seasons this year when it comes to stunning upsets, yet still being ranked in the top 10. Now they can each claim a win over the other on the year, as the fifth-ranked Blue Devils avenged an earlier loss to their rivals with a 74-64 win over the ninth-ranked Tar Heels. Marvin Bagley III led the way with 21 points, 18 of which came in the second half, which helped his team overcome a 10-point halftime deficit by outscoring the Tar Heels, 49-29, after halftime. Duke trailed by as many as 13 in the second half, as Grayson Allen chipped in 15 points in his final game at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Gary Trent Jr. came up big down the stretch with two three-pointers, and finished with 13 points, as the Blue Devils clinched the two-seed in the upcoming ACC Tournament. They finished 8-of-15 from three-point range in the second half, and out-rebounded North Carolina by 11 after halftime. The Tar Heels were led by Cameron Johnson's 16 points, while Kenny Williams and Luke Maye added 13 points apiece. They finish the season at 11-7 in conference play, as both the Tar Heels and the Blue Devils move on to the ACC Tournament at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, which begins on Tuesday. UNC will not play until Wednesday, while the Blue Devils enjoy a double-bye before starting on Thursday.
Michigan, Purdue to Battle for Big Ten Title
The 15th-ranked Michigan Wolverines have played the eighth-ranked Purdue Boilermakers tough twice this season, both of which ended in defeats. They will have one more shot at them on Sunday for the Big Ten Tournament Championship, as both the Wolverines and Boilermakers won their semifinal matchup on Saturday. First, the Wolverines took down the second-ranked Michigan State Spartans for the second time this season, 75-64. Mo Wagner overcame a struggling first half to score 14 of his 15 points in the second half, leading his team to their third straight win at Madison Square Garden. They have now won eight in a row overall after getting past Iowa in overtime in the second round and then blowing out Nebraska in a quarterfinal game. The win snaps the Spartans' 13-game win streak, as they also fell to the Wolverines on their home floor back on January 13th. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Zavier Simpson added 15 points each for Michigan, who is looking for their second straight Big Ten Tournament title. Meanwhile, after the Boilermakers ended Rutgers' Cinderella story on Friday, they stopped the upset-minded Penn State Nittany Lions, 78-70, in the semi-finals on Saturday. Carsen Edwards had 27 points to lead Purdue, who shot 52 percent overall and from three-point range, That helped them overcome Shep Gardner's career-high 33-point night, as the senior set a school record with 129 points in the Big Ten Tournament. The Boilermakers are now entering their third Big Ten Tournament Championship Game, with their one tournament title coming in 2009.