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Celtics missing from close range

Boston missed a high percentage of easy baskets in its loss to the Rockets on Friday.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics' failure to convert inside cost them another game on Friday night, as they lost 101-89 to the Houston Rockets. Missing layups and short jumpers all night, the Celtics were just 16 of 44 from inside eight feet.

"We missed a lot of good looks, missed layups, and missed some open jumpers, and that’s all part of the game," Rajon Rondo told reporters in Houston. "That can’t affect the way we get back defensively and Houston took advantage of those opportunities."

Boston's big men were 14-33, with Kevin Garnett the only one to hit half of his shot attempts. Paul Pierce was wildly inefficient as well, sinking just five buckets in 18 attempts. This hasn't really been a problem for the Celtics, who have been better this season from in close, as noted by Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston.

The Celtics this season rank 10th in the NBA, shooting 55.4 percent within 8 feet of the basket...the Celtics were a dismal 16-of-44 (36.4 percent) in that range on Friday (all while Houston was 21-of-37 for 56.8 percent).

Pierce and Rondo are key to the success of Boston's interior game, breaking down the defense and opening up opportunities for themselves and their big men. The two have combined for nearly 16 assists per game on the season, with Pierce leading the team in scoring with 19.8 per game. But Garnett has been the only consistent big, with Jeff Green and Brandon Bass not picking up the slack.

Now at 12-10, the Celtics will have to do better tonight against the San Antonio Spurs.