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Celtics 107, Rockets 96,

February 2, 1998

BOSTON (AP) _ Antoine Walker posted his first triple-double of the season and Dana Barros scored a season-high 23 points to lead the Boston Celtics to a 107-96 victory over the Houston Rockets on Sunday night.

After the Rockets rallied from a 16-point third quarter deficit, the Celtics scored 10 consecutive points midway through the fourth quarter and took a 90-81 lead on a Travis Knight reverse layin from Walker.

Walker finished with 27 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists for his third career triple-double. Knight, who had averaged just 4.7 points per game in his last 16 games, equaled his season-high with 21 points.

Houston cut it to 92-88 on a Kevin Willis turnaround from the right baseline, but baskets from Barros and Bruce Bowen gave the Celtics an eight-point advantage with 3:40 to go. Barros and Bowen each added a pair of 3-pointers in the final two minutes to put the game out of reach.

The Celtics had taken a 62-46 lead early in the third quarter on a Chauncey Billups layin before Houston went on a 21-5 spurt that tied the game 67-67 on a Rodrick Rhodes layin with 3:10 remaining in the third quarter.

The Rockets, who have not won back-to-back games since Dec. 19, were led by Kevin Willis’ 21 points. Charles Barkley finished with 17 points and 16 rebounds.

NOTES: Houston’s Rodrick Rhodes started at point guard for the second straight game, replacing Matt Maloney (neck sprain). ... Houston is 14-2 against opponents with a losing mark. ... Travis Knight, signed to a $3 million-plus contract this past offseason, is averaging just 16 minutes per game and 4.7 points per game in his last 16 games. ... Boston is 38-8 all-time at home against Houston.

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