BOSTON – Paul Pierce scored 16 of his 23 points in the second half and Kevin Garnett added 17 points and four blocks as the Boston Celtics nearly blew a 17-point lead before pulling away late in a 103-91 victory over the Houston Rockets on Friday night.

The Celtics extended their season-high winning streak to five games, but only after surviving a 12-0 run that pulled the Rockets within two points midway through the fourth quarter.

Rajon Rondo finished with 12 points and eight assists for the Celtics.

Courtney Lee and Jared Sullinger scored 14 apiece and Sullinger also had 11 rebounds for his second straight double-double.

James Harden scored 24 and Chandler Parsons added 18 for Houston, which fell to 0-2 during a three-game road trip.

The Rockets had won five straight and 10 of 12 before starting the trip with a loss at New Orleans on Wednesday.

After struggling through the first three quarters, Houston put together one big surge in the fourth quarter that stunned the Celtics and their fans — but only for a little while.

Harden, Parsons and Jeremy Lin, who scored 12, were the only Houston players to finish in double figures.

HAWKS 103, JAZZ 95: Devin Harris scored a season-high 24 points and host Atlanta rallied from a 15-point deficit in the second half to beat Utah Jazz 103-95 on Friday night, snapping a four-game losing streak.

PISTONS 103, BUCKS 87: Greg Monroe had 26 points and 11 rebounds, and Detroit beat host Milwaukee to hand interim coach Jim Boylan his first lost with the Bucks.

HORNETS 104, TIMBERWOLVES 92: Greivis Vasquez had 18 points and 13 assists to lead host New Orleans over Minnesota for its fourth straight win.

BULLS 108, KNICKS 101: Luol Deng scored a season-high 33 points in Chicago’ third victory over host New York this season, handing the Knicks their season-high third straight loss.

GRIZZLIES 101, SPURS 98: Rudy Gay hit a pullup jumper from 14 feet with 27.8 seconds left, and host Memphis held off San Antonio in overtime for its fourth straight victory and its first over their Southwest Division rival since the 2011 playoffs.

NETS 99, SUNS 79: Joe Johnson scored 19 points and MarShon Brooks added 17 points off the bench, leading host Brooklyn Nets to their fifth straight victory.

RAPTORS 99, BOBCATS 78: Alan Anderson scored 16 points against his former team, Jose Calderon had 15 and host Toronto won for the 10th time in 13 games.


KINGS: Amid a fresh round of reports Friday that a Seattle group was about to buy and move the Sacramento Kings from the Maloof family, two more deep-pocketed bidders said they were interested in buying the troubled franchise and keeping it in Sacramento.