Finding its home swagger again, Oklahoma City rolled to a 119-96
victory over the Boston Celtics on Sunday.s
The Thunder (27-7) ended a recent trend of surrendering big
fourth-quarter leads at home.
"I'm pretty happy with the way we came out and made sure we put this
game away and didn't let it come down to the stretch like the last
two games," Thunder guard Reggie Jackson said.
Boston (13-21) lost its fourth game in a row and seventh in its last
eight outings. Coach Brad Stevens watched his team play competitive
ball for a half, then saw the game get away with a lackluster second
"One of the things we have to do as a group is when things don't go
well, we need to collect ourselves quicker," Stevens said. "Make
things go in our favor again. When things are going well, we're not
bad. When things don't go well, we haven't responded well lately."
Jackson led the Thunder with career-high 27 points. Coming off a
48-point effort the night before, Thunder forward Kevin Durant
posted 21 points, eight assists and seven rebounds in only 27
minutes Sunday. Forward Serge Ibaka added 17 points and 11 rebounds
for his 15th double-double of the season.
The Celtics were led by forward Jeff Green and guard Avery Bradley,
who each collected 19 points. Guard Jordan Crawford chipped in with
17 points and seven assists.
Jackson had his shooting stroke going early on. He reeled off 11
points on 4-of-4 shooting in the game's opening five minutes.
"I liked his aggressiveness," Durant said of Jackson. "He was
picking and choosing his spots well. He just went at them. He went
at Crawford. He went at Avery Bradley. He just went downhill to the
rim every time. That's what we need from him."
While Durant was hot Saturday in Minnesota against the Timberwolves,
he was cold to start the game against the Celtics. He missed his
first three shots from the field. However, he still had three
assists and helped the Thunder grab an eight-point lead after one
"I think it's on me to get everybody involved and get aggressive for
myself," Durant said. "Me being aggressive is maybe me looking for
my teammates. They put me in great position, and I was able to make
[to top of second column]
The Celtics used the 3-pointer to stay in the game. Led by
the sharp-shooting of Bradley and Crawford, the team combined to
knock in eight from long range in the first half and got the
deficit down to seven with 1:06 remaining.
However, a late scoring surge by Jackson and Durant gave
Oklahoma City a 66-56 halftime advantage.
Oklahoma City's defense took over the contest in the second
half. The Thunder held the Celtics to six points over the first
six minutes of the third quarter. Oklahoma City turned that
defense into fast-break opportunities and finished them off with
alley-oop dunks and wide open 3-pointers.
With the Celtics trailing 89-68, Green buried back-to-back
3-pointers to close gap to 15. However, that would be as close
as Boston would get the rest of the night. The majority of the
Thunder's starters did not play in the final period.
The lack of fight by Boston in the second half concerns Stevens.
"It's not something that has happened all year," Stevens said,
"but it's something that has to change if we want to have
NOTES: According to reports, the Celtics reached an agreement to
deal G Courtney Lee to the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for G
Jerryd Bayless. Lee did not play Sunday. ... Oklahoma City G
Russell Westbrook spoke to the media for the first time since he
it was announced he would be out of the lineup with a knee
injury. He is scheduled to return after the All-Star break. "I
don't pay no attention to those projections man," Westbrook
said. "I just wake up and try to get better each and every day."
... Boston coach Brad Stevens and Thunder general manager Sam
Presti developed a friendship built on being young in the NBA.
"Our first conversation was just about being young guys and
trying to do the best that we could knowing we had some youth to
us," Stevens said. "But it was a great conversation. He is a
really interesting guy." ... Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks is
amazed with rookie C Steven Adams' ability to absorb punishment.
"The elbows and all that, I don't know if that's an iron man. I
don't know if that's very smart," Brooks said with a laugh. "He
is as tough as I've been around any player. Every day he just
plays. The elbows, the pushes, Nothing fazes him. All he cares
about is eating a lot of food and playing basketball."
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