Without both Kevin Durant and Jeff Green, the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Boston Celtics tonight 89-84.The Celtics came out flat, clearly expecting to earn an easy win. Unfortunately, that did not happen. With the loss, Boston drops to 9-3 on the young season, while OKC improves to 8-4.
Kevin Garnett led the way for Boston, scoring 16 points and connecting on all 10 of his free throws. Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo contributed with 14 points apiece.
Russell Westbrook showed he can carry the Thunder without Durant, as he netted 31 points, while dishing out 6 dimes. Serge Ibaka added 13 points for Oklahom City.
Shaq scored 10 of Boston’s 23 first quarter points on 5-5 shooting from the field. KG took a blow to the head from Ibaka that left him with a noticable bump on the back of his had. Glen Davis also took his league-leading 18th charge. The LSU grad has now taken a charge in all 12 of Boston’s contests this season. However, OKC took a two-point advantage into the secod frame.
The Thunder continued their impressive play in the second quarter. Russell Westbrook had a game-high 12 points, as Oklahoma City took a 49-46 lead into the break.
Boston cut the deficit to as little as three points, but couldn’t close out the third quarter. Westbrook and Ibaka combined for 18 of OKC’s 28 points and the Thunder took a 77-69 lead into the final twelve minutes.
The Celtics slowly chipped away at the lead in the fourth quarter. Boston cut the deficit back to four points when KG hit a pair of free throws with 4:44 left. Shaq was called for a ridiculous flagrant foul just 13 seconds later.
With 2:36 left, Pierce penetrated the defense and found Glen Davis who earned a trip to the foul line. Big Baby was unable to connect on either of the free throws. He returned to the line less than a minute later, and only made one of those attempts.
Nenad Kristic fouled Delonte West after a rebound with 1:16 left, who calmly hit both of his FTs to bring the C’s to within just one point. After a missed Westbrook jumper, Ray Allen rimmed out a shot of his own.
The C’s fouled Westbrook with 13.4 seconds left. After he made both shots from the line, West missed a wide open three-pointer in the corner. James Harden iced the game, hitting both of his free throws, and OKC prevailed with an 89-84 victory.
The Celtics return to action Sunday afternoon, as they visit Toronto to take on the Raptors. Tip-off is at 1 PM.