Duke Basketball: Harden, Rockets out duel Kyrie, Celtics in H-Town battle

PHOENIX, AZ - NOVEMBER 08: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena on November 8, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Celtics defeated the Suns 116-109 in overtime. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - NOVEMBER 08: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena on November 8, 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Celtics defeated the Suns 116-109 in overtime. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

Former Duke Basketball players collided in Houston as the Boston Celtics visited the Rockets in a post Christmas Day battle.

It was a battle in Houston as Kyrie Irving led the Boston Celtics into the Toyota Center to face James Harden and the Houston Rockets.

Both team were coming off huge come from behind Christmas Day victories as the Celtics defeated the Philadelphia 76ers in overtime and the Rockets defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder.

More from Ball Durham

However, on Thursday night Harden and the Rockets bested Irving and the Celtics with a 127-113 victory.

Harden led the way with 45 points and six assists, as his new teammate and former Duke Blue Devil Austin Rivers came off the bench to provide 10 points, four rebounds, and three assists.

Irving led the way for the Celtics with 23 points, five rebounds, and 11 assists. Kyrie has the best +/- rating on the Celtics at +6, but he only took 13 shots in this game which doesn’t seem nearly enough.

Of the 13 shots that Kyrie Irving took, he made seven of them and made two of six from 3-point range.

Irving was the only Celtic that was able to get anything going offensively and despite playing 36 minutes in this game, Boston seemed to collapse every time Irving took a breather.

Fellow Blue Devil Jayson Tatum struggled, only scoring four points in the defeat, making two of seven shots, but still adding three rebounds and two assists.

The loss dropped the Celtics to 20-14 on the season which is good enough for the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference, two games behind the 76ers for the No. 4 seed, but the Celtics are three games ahead of the Detroit Pistons who hold the No. 6 seed.

As for the Rockets, they are now 19-15 on the season which puts them in the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference, yet only three games behind the Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors for the No. 1 seed in the West.