Feb 22, 2012; Oklahoma City OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Serge Ibaka (9) gets the rebound against Boston Celtics forward JaJuan Johnson (12) and power forward Kevin Garnett (5) during the first quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena Mandatory Credit: Richard Rowe-US PRESSWIRE

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.

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Celtics Vs. Thunder: Doc Rivers 'Loved The Spirit' In 119-104 Loss

It was the Boston Celtics' fifth straight loss, but Doc Rivers stared into the abyss and saw a stream of light.

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.

"I loved the way our guys competed. That's a group, you'd say, 'Oh, I'd coach them all day,'" Rivers said during an interview with CSNNE.

"I just loved the spirit," he added. "I told them after the game, if we play like that in the second half of the season healthy, it's going to be tough to beat us, anybody."

Perhaps so, but the All-Star break could not have arrived at a better time for the Celtics.

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

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Thunder 119, Celtics 104: Boston's Late Rally Stomped Out In OKC

More: Doc - "A Team Building Loss"

Somehow, someway, they almost did it. Minus star guard Rajon Rondo and bigs Jermaine O'Neal, Chris Wilcox and Brandon Bass, the Boston Celtics nearly defeated the Western Conference leading Oklahoma City Thunder. Nearly.

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.



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

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Celtics Vs. Thunder Halftime Score: Oklahoma City Rolling, 72-49

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).

Kevin Garnett had a solid half for the Celtics, totaling 15 points and eight rebounds. Ray Allen scored nine on 3-of-5 shooting, Mickael Pietrus and Avery Bradley each had eight points and Paul Pierce had five points and four assists. JaJuan Johnson is the only member of the C's bench to score in the half, finishing with four points.

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.



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

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VIDEO: Avery Bradley Dunks On Kevin Durant (No, Seriously)

Kevin Durant, meet Avery Bradley. While things aren't going the way of the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder (that's not surprising, is it), the C's do have a highlight reel dunk in their favor. Believe it or not, it was provided by Bradley ... over Durant. You just can't make this stuff up. Here it is.

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.

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Celtics Vs. Thunder: Hobbled C's Look To End Skid In Oklahoma City

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).

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