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.