Thunder 97, Celtics 88: Kevin Durant Hands Boston Fifth Straight Loss

Kevin Durant scored a game-high 28 points and Russell Westbrook added 26 points and seven boards as the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Boston Celtics, 97-88, on Monday night. Boston (4-8) has now dropped five straight.

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Celtics Vs. Thunder: Paul Pierce, Doc Rivers Comment On Boston's Struggles

The Boston Celtics have lost five straight, but players and coaches remain convinced that success is closer than it looks.

"Boy, I thought we did a lot of good things again," Doc Rivers said Monday night after bowing to the Oklahoma City Thunder, 97-88.

He added, "The way you win is with execution. And you can just see it -- every quarter I thought we had a two-minute stretch where we went on a turnover binge, and that's frustrating."

"I like our spirit," he said. "It's crazy. I didn't like us the first couple games because we didn't play well. The last couple, you can just see it coming. But you've gotta break through at some point." (via CSNNE)

Paul Pierce agreed with his coach's assessment that the Celtics are beginning to show signs of competitiveness.

"I think I like where we're headed. You know, it's just little things that are really killing us. The turnovers, obviously, if we can keep cleaning that up we can keep teams out of transition and control that a little bit better, I think we'll be great. But we have to go do it," he said.

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Celtics Vs. Thunder: Kendrick Perkins Says It Was 'Hard' To Return To Boston

Kendrick Perkins returned to the TD Garden Monday night for the first time since being traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder, saying that his homecoming was "hard" despite love for his former teammates and the city of Boston.

"It was hard. Coming here and playing against your family that you've grown with. You know, the love, the brotherhood and everything, just the whole city of Boston. I grew up here, coming here as a young boy at 18," Perkins said.

"During the first quarter I was just full of emotions, mixed emotions. I didn't know what to do. I just kept playing, and it was a difficult situation."


Related: Kendrick Perkins interview after TD Garden return

Perkins wasted little time showing that even his best friend would receive no easy layups, knocking Rajon Rondo to the floor during a fast break in the first quarter. The Boston Celtics later provided Perkins with a video montage to thank him for his Boston career. Afterward the crowd was loving in its Perkins praise, calling him out onto the floor to wave his hands in appreciation.

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Celtics Vs. Thunder Final Score: Boston Drops Fifth Straight, 97-88

BOSTON - The Kevin Durant show rolled through town on Monday, and as expected, it didn't leave much of a chance for the Boston Celtics. Durant scored 28 points and Russell Westbrook added 26 points as the Oklahoma City Thunder handed the C's a 97-88 defeat at TD Garden.

Boston (4-8) has now dropped five straight games and continues to fall further and further in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, the good times continue for the Thunder, which improved to 12-2 on the relatively young season.

Paul Pierce played his best game this season, scoring 24 points and grabbing five rebounds for Boston, which shot 39.1 percent. Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett and Jermaine O'Neal all finished with 12 points for the Celtics and Mickael Pietrus scored a season-high 14 points off the bench in defeat.

Thabo Sefolosha was effective with 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting for the Thunder, which shot 45 percent from the field. In his long awaited return to Boston, Kendrick Perkins had seven points and five rebounds and rookie guard and former Boston College standout Reggie Jackson finished with two assists in eight minutes for Oklahoma City.

The Celtics hung around early, but much like their past five or so games, fell behind midway through the first half thanks to poor shot selection. Trailing 25-17 after the first, the Celtics would outscore the Thunder, 22-21, in the second to cut the halftime deficit to 46-39. Oklahoma City rebuilt its lead to ten, 72-62, after the third quarter.

Despite a much better performance in the fourth, the Thunder continued to have an answer for almost every Celtics run. Pietrus pulled the game within three points after a late three, 83-80, but Oklahoma City would respond with two game-clinching three pointers from Sefolosha and Westbrook. Once again, Pietrus hit a three with less than a minute and a half to go, cutting the Thunder lead to 89-85. But again, Westbrook nailed a clutch three, and that was it.

Boston returns to the court on Wednesday night when it hosts the Toronto Raptors.


Final - 1.16.2012 1 2 3 4 Total
Oklahoma City Thunder 25 21 26 25 97
Boston Celtics 17 22 23 26 88

Complete Coverage >


For more Celtics an Thunder coverage, visit our team blogs, CelticsBlog and WTLC.

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Celtics Vs. Thunder Score Update: Boston Trails, 46-39, At Halftime

Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant each scored 16 points, but a late push from the Boston Celtics trimmed the Oklahoma City Thunder lead to 46-39 at halftime on Monday night at TD Garden.

In typical fashion, the Celtics hung around in the early minutes but fell behind quickly midway through the half thanks to poor shot selection. Boston shot 34.1 percent in the opening half while Oklahoma City shot at a 45.9 percent clip.

Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 11 points and both Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen scored six points in the half. Jermaine O'Neal finished with six points and five rebounds in the half and Marquis Daniels scored four off the bench for Boston.

Serge Ibaka and Nick Collison both scored four points for Oklahoma City. Kendrick Perkins, in his return to Boston, had zero points, four rebounds and three fouls in 13 minutes. Reggie Jackson, a Boston College graduate, did not register any stats in three minutes off the bench for Oklahoma City.



For more Celtics an Thunder coverage, visit our team blogs, CelticsBlog and WTLC.

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Celtics Vs. Thunder: TV/Radio Info, Time, Odds, History And More

Ray Allen and the struggling Boston Celtics welcome perennial MVP candidate Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder to TD Garden for a nationally televised game on Monday.

Event: Oklahoma City Thunder (11-2) vs. Boston Celtics (4-7) - NBA Regular Season, Game 12.

Date/Time: Monday, January 16, 2012 - 8:00 p.m. EDT.

Location: TD Garden (Capacity: 18,624), Boston, MA.

Broadcast Info: Monday's game between the Celtics and Thunder will be televised nationally on TNT. In addition, the game will be aired on the WEEI Sports Radio Network, with Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell calling all of the action.

Odds: Oklahoma City is a three-point favorite over Boston, and the over-under is set at 110.

Celtics Roster 2011-12: Ray Allen, Brandon Bass, Avery Bradley, Marquis Daniels,Keyon Dooling, Kevin Garnett, JaJuan Johnson, E'Twaun Moore, Jermaine O'Neal, Sasha Pavlovic, Mickael Pietrus, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Greg Stiemsma,Chris Wilcox. Head Coach: Doc Rivers.

Thunder Roster 2011-12: Cole Aldrich, Nick Collison, Daequan Cook, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Lazar Haywood, Serge Ibaka, Royal Ivey, Reggie Jackson, Eric Maynor, Nazr Mohammed, Kendrick Perkins, Ryan Reid, Thabo Sefolosha, Russell Westbrook. Head Coach: Scott Brooks.

Celtics And Thunder In 2011: The Celtics and Thunder will play twice this season and met twice last season, with each team winning once. Kevin Durant scored 34 points to lead the Thunder to a 92-83 win in the first meeting last season on Nov. 7 but the Celtics overcame a 31-point performance from Russell Westbrook to win 89-84 on Nov. 19.

Last Time Out: Boston is riding a four-game losing streak and is coming off a 97-83 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Saturday. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce each scored 21 points and Jermaine O'Neal collected 12 rebounds for Boston in the loss. Rajon Rondo had nine assists in defeat for Boston, which was held to 38.6 percent shooting from the field.

Oklahoma City defeated the New York Knicks, 104-92, in its last game on Saturday. Kevin Durant led his team with 28 points and Russell Westbrook had 21 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the Thunder, which shot 47.9 percent in the win. James Harden also had a solid game, scoring 24 points off the bench.

Statistics Central: Ray Allen is the Celtics' leading scorer, averaging 17.5 points. Rajon Rondo leads the team in assists per game (10.1) and steals (1.9). Kevin Garnett averages 7.1 rebounds and Greg Stiemsma averages 1.8 blocks. Boston ranks 26th in the NBA in points for (89.9 PPG) and is 29th in rebounding (37.7 RPG), ninth in assists (22.0 APG) and eighth in points allowed (92.1 PPG).

Kevin Durant leads Oklahoma City in scoring, averaging 25.8 points, and also leads the team in rebounding with 6.8 rebounds. Russell Westbrook averages 5.5 assists and 1.7 steals and Serge Ibaka averages 2.2 blocks. The Thunder rank fifth in the league in scoring (100.3 PPG), 15th in rebounding (42.0 RPG), 22nd in assists (19.0 APG) and is 20th in the league in points allowed (95.6 PPG).

Storyline: Plenty of stories in this game on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, including the return of Kendrick Perkins to TD Garden. Perkins played the first seven and a half seasons of his career with the Celtics before team president Danny Ainge traded Perkins, the starting center on the 2008 championship team, and Nate Robinson to the Thunder for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic. At the time, Perkins was distraught and is anxious about his return home on Monday.

Of course, you can't forget about Kevin Durant in this game. Any time Durant comes to town, it's a story in itself. Durant is an NBA scoring champion and is well on his way to a Hall of Fame career, meaning tough times for opposing teams. Durant is aided by his sidekick, Russell Westbrook, who is an All-Star in his own right and a difficult guard to handle.

Reggie Jackson also return to the area, as the former Boston College standout was the first-round pick of the Thunder in the 2011 NBA Draft. Jackson won't start and may not see a lot of playing time, but it will be good to see him in an NBA uniform after all of his hard work and dedication in Chestnut Hill.

As for the Celtics, they are in desperate need of a win. Losers of their last four games, fans are wondering if this is the end of the Big Four era. However, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo think otherwise. The C's will do everything they can to get back on track, but the reality is that their time may have passed.

Players To Watch: Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are the two best players on the floor for the Thunder, and everything points to both having big games against a weak Celtics team. Also, Kendrick Perkins will be determined to put on a show in his return to Boston. For the Celtics, watch for the Big Four to have a big game if the Celtics play well.

Prediction: One can't run from reality forever. In truth, it looks like the Celtics' time is up, at least with this current group of future Hall of Famers. The league now belongs to the young teams, like the Thunder. Oklahoma City is simply too talented for Boston to handle, and they should prove it on Monday night. Final Score: Thunder 104, Celtics 86.



For more Celtics an Thunder coverage, visit our team blogs, CelticsBlog and WTLC.

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Evaluating Kendrick Perkins Trade For Celtics, One Season Later

It hasn't quite been a year, but there's plenty of evidence in already to evaluate what is widely regarded as one of the worst trades of Danny Ainge's tenure with the Boston Celtics -- the deal that sent center Kendrick Perkins away.

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Celtics Vs. Thunder: C's Looks To End Skid Against Oklahoma City

Ray Allen and the struggling Boston Celtics (4-7) attempt to turn the page against Kevin Durant and the powerful Oklahoma City Thunder (11-2) in a nationally televised affair at 8 p.m. EDT on Monday night in Boston (TNT/WEEI).

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