"This was our first time playing without both of them, so we take
the win and move on, get ready for Philly tomorrow."
With Durant, who is leading the NBA in scoring at 31 points per
game, nursing a bruised right shoulder and Westbrook out after knee
surgery, the Thunder flashed the rest of their weapons in riding to
their sixth straight win, their seventh in the last eight games.
"Going into the game I knew they were going to accept the
challenge," said coach Scott Brooks. "One of the things about or
team, we play hard every night.
"We take pride in playing hard no matter who is on the floor."
Without power forward Durant and point guard Westbrook, the Thunder
(34-10) were missing a combined 52.3 points, 13.7 rebounds and 12.1
assists per game.
When the game ended, the two stars sat together in the visitors'
dressing room, both wearing ice packs on their injured areas.
Westbrook hasn't played since Christmas Day, while Durant is
doubtful for Saturday night in Philadelphia.
The two had fun talking about Knicks star Carmelo Anthony's 62-point
Friday night explosion in New York, Durant saying, "I'm a 'Melo
Forward Serge Ibaka had 21 points and seven rebounds and swingman
Jeremy Lamb came off the bench with 19 points, six rebounds and
three assists to lead OKC, which had five players in double figures.
Guard Reggie Jackson, who runs the offense with Westbrook out and
was the focus of Boston's defense, had 14 points and eight assists — but went 5 of 14 from the floor. Perkins added six points and
nine rebounds and his team dished out 24 assists.
The Celtics, also shorthanded with guards Avery Bradley and Jerryd
Bayless out, have lost 16 of their last 19 games. They competed
early, even led by five points in the first half, but their rookie
coach, Brad Stevens, said it was misleading.
"We made jump shots first quarter," he said. "We weren't engaged the
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"They're down Kevin Durant and I think their team is thinking
'OK, this is an opportunity for a lot of guys that don't play as
much when he's playing minutes,'" said Boston forward Kris
Humphries. "They just stepped it up. They played harder than us,
executed, got a lot of easy shots, made the right plays. I think
we did the complete opposite tonight."
Forward Jeff Green, coming off a 39-point game at Washington on
Wednesday, led the Celtics with 16 points, while swingman Gerald
Wallace had 13.
Celtics forward Jared Sullinger suffered a dislocated right
index finger in the first half but returned in the second
quarter. He played 24 minutes.
Point guard Rajon Rondo, playing the fourth of the five games
since his return from knee surgery and still playing five-minute
shifts, had five points and eight assists in 22 minutes. The
team is 0-4 in the games he's played.
The Celtics had assists on their first nine baskets, the first
four going to Rondo. That helped Boston grab its early lead. The
home team was up by three when the Thunder used an 8-0 run to
take the lead for good in the second quarter. Up by just four at
the half, the Thunder exploded out of the second-half gate and
used a 22-4 run to break it open.
NOTES: Thunder F Kevin Durant was averaging 38.1 points in the
last 11 games and had scored 30 or more in each of the last
nine. "He might be the best scorer in the world right now,"
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said before the game, and before
official word came from Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks that
Durant was out and is day to day with a bruised right shoulder.
The Thunder visit Philadelphia on Saturday night. "It's the best
thing for him," Brooks said, noting his star always wants to
play. Durant started his 30-point streak after scoring 21
against the Celtics on Jan. 5. Thunder F Perry Jones made his
second start of the season and the third of his two-year pro
career, contributing 10 points and four rebounds in 31:44. ...
The Celtics, who host the Brooklyn Nets and former Boston stars
Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett (and Jason Terry), on Sunday
night, were without Gs Avery Bradley (ankle) and Jerryd Bayless
(toe). ... Celtics G Rajon Rondo on preliminary contract
extension talks with the team: "I wouldn't mind staying here the
rest of my career."
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