Thunder 119, Celtics 104: Boston Comes Up Short In Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City scored a season-high 72 points in the first half, but Boston cut its deficit to six points late in the fourth quarter before ultimately losing to the Thunder, 119-104, in the final game before the All-Star break on Wednesday.
5Total Updates since February 22, 2012
Do you want major updates to this story in your Facebook News Feed?
On the road to falling 119-104 to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night, the Celtics surrendered a 30-3 run in the first half and allowed 72 points by halftime. They fell behind by as many as 27 points and dropped two games below .500. But Rivers appreciated that his team never quit.
The Celtics clawed their way back into the game and might have escaped with a win if it weren't for a few late turnovers.
After giving up 72 points in the first half, the Celtics used a big third quarter and a late-game rally to pull within six points, but Kevin Durant (28 points, nine rebounds) and the Thunder were just too much to handle, stomping out the rally with a 119-104 win Wednesday.
Boston gave its fans some false hope, jumping out to a 15-5 lead early in the opening quarter. Then, the Thunder took over, using a 21-0 run in the half to regain control of the game and take a 72-49 lead into halftime. The 72 points was the most scored by Oklahoma City in the first half this season, and it appeared to put the decision out of reach.
Using a strong third quarter, in which the C's outscored the opposition, 31-22, Boston pulled within 14 points of the Thunder heading into the final frame. A Kendrick Perkins (eight points, 10 rebounds) layup put Oklahoma City up 106-91 with 6:11 left, but that would be the last time the Thunder scored until the 4:24 mark, as the Celtics used six points from Ray Allen (21 points) and two from Paul Pierce (23 points, eight assists) to trim the lead to 106-98 with 4:35 to play.
After two Russell Westbrook (31 points) free throws, Avery Bradley (12 points) made two from the charity stripe and Allen made a technical free throw to put the green within seven points, 108-101. Two more free throws from Pierce at 3:31 made it a six point game.
Kevin Durant put an end to the Celtics run, however, scoring seven points in the final three minutes and leading his team on an 11-2 run -- Pierce's nine-foot jumper was the only Celtics basket in the closing minutes -- to capture the win.
Boston finishes the first half of the season with a disappointing 15-17 record, and the Celtics will send both Pierce and Rondo to the 2012 NBA All-Star Game in Orlando, FL this Sunday before resuming their season next week.
Did you expect anything else? Kevin Durant had 16 points, four assists, three rebounds and three steals as the Oklahoma City Thunder scored a season-high 72 first half points to take a 72-49 lead over the depleted Boston Celtics at halftime.
Making this one more painful was the fact that the C's opened up on a 15-5 run, providing a sense of hope for green team fans. Of course, that would not hold up, and Oklahoma City used a 21-0 run in the half to knock the shorthanded C's out of the game. Despite their large deficit, Boston shot 52.8 percent in the half (19-for-26). Oklahoma City, meanwhile, shot 56.5 percent in the opening half (26-for-46).
The Thunder have four players in double digits. Aside from Durant, Russell Westbrook has 14 points and five assists, Daequan Cook scored 13 and James Harden added 15 points in 18 minutes off the bench for Oklahoma City.
Will things get better in the second half? No, probably not. Just that kind of night.
Nice, huh? Don't expect that a lot, though. Bradley has been playing a lot better than he did last year, and he didn't play that much last season. Bradley's offense has improved, but defense is still his calling card. Still, it's nice to see that kind of hops from a reserve that will probably be wearing green for a while as the Celtics continue to rebuild. Bradley has eight points and three assists in 18 minutes, and the Celtics trail the Thunder, 72-49, at halftime.
For more Celtics and Thunder coverage, visit our blogs, CelticsBlog and WTLC.
Rajon Rondo will be unavailable for the second straight night as the depleted Boston Celtics (15-16) go to war with Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder (25-7) at 7:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday night (TV/Radio: ESPN/WEEI).