Ford Keys to the Game: Thunder 101, Celtics 83

Thunder 101, Celtics 83 - Boston, MA
By Marc D'Amico, January 24, 2014

Key Moment

The basket was as big as the ocean for Boston during their first quarter against Oklahoma City Friday night.

During the third quarter? Not so much.

The Celtics came out of the gates firing on all cylinders against the Kevin Durant-less Thunder. They hit 11 of their 15 shots in the opening frame, good for a 73.3 percent clip from the field. Three Celtics, Gerald Wallace (3-of-3), Brandon Bass (2-of-2) and Rajon Rondo (1-for-1) made all of their attempts in the first quarter.

That impressive shooting performance over the first 12 minutes of the game allowed Boston to take a lead – albeit a small one – into the second quarter, at 28-27. The teams played evenly for the majority of the second and Oklahoma City took a 50-46 lead into the half.

It didn’t take long for the Thunder to open that lead up in the third period. Boston shot a woeful 5-of-20 in the third en route to just 13 points. Not a single Celtics player shot better than 40 percent from the field during the quarter. Oklahoma City, meanwhile, shot 55 percent from the field and scored 27 points to open up a 77-59 lead after three.

These teams played nearly evenly on the scoreboard for the other three quarters, but as Stevens noted, that third period put the win in Oklahoma City’s hands.

“We’ve had one quarter in the middle that’s hurt us as times,” said Stevens. “That one quarter killed us today.”

Each team scored 24 points in the final frame as Oklahoma City cruised to a 101-83 victory.

Key Box Score Line

Sometimes you have to pick the positives out of a discouraging night. Tonight is one of those occasions.

Boston fell by 18 points at the hands of Oklahoma City but did have a couple of positives to pull from the loss. Gerald Wallace played well in his second consecutive start, Phil Pressey continued his streak of solid play, and most importantly, Rajon Rondo put together his best game of the season.

Rondo did not play in Wednesday’s overtime win against the Washington Wizards. He hadn’t played since Tuesday and he looked very fresh against the Thunder. He was strong off the dribble and whipped passes around like the Rondo of old. The point guard dished out a season-high eight assists while logging just 22 minutes of playing time. He also contributed five points and two rebounds in the loss.

Box Score Nuggets

  • The teams combined to commit just 30 personal fouls.
  • Gerald Wallace and Perry Jones tied for the game high in steals with three apiece.
  • Both teams tallied 24 assists.
  • Rajon Rondo and Reggie Jackson tied for the game high in assists with eight apiece.
  • Oklahoma City outscored Boston by 14 points in the third quarter, but by just four points in the other three quarters.
  • Phil Pressey, who hit two 3-pointers, was the only player in the game who hit more than one trey on the night.
  • Oklahoma City scored 22 points off of Boston's 17 turnovers.
  • The Thunder blocked just two shots and the Celtics blocked none.
  • Serge Ibaka scored a game-high 21 points.
  • No player in the game grabbed more than nine rebounds.
  • Jeff Green led the Celtics with 16 points.

Quote of the Night

We were shooting it in early, but it was fool's gold at that point. You could kind of see it… Unless we changed, and we didn't change.
Brad Stevens on his team starting out hot then cooling off

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