Notebook: Thunder 91, Celtics 79



Posted Mar 10, 2013 4:53 PM

Randy Renner, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: The Boston Celtics had played suffocating defense in the first three quarters in Oklahoma City but it was the Thunder defense that snuffed out any hope for a Celtic rally in the fourth leading OKC to a 91-79 win.

Kevin Durant led all scorers with 23 points, 11 coming at the free throw line. Russell Westbrook added 15, but had only two assists and one rebound. Thunder sixth man Kevin Martin scored 12 points but he continues to have problems with his shot going just 4-for-12 overall and 0-for-4 on 3-pointers.

The Celtics also had three men in double figures. Boston was led by Paul Pierce who had 20 points but only two of those came in the decisive fourth quarter. Point guard Avery Bradley, filling in for the injured Rajon Rondo, had 12 points on 5-for-10 shooting and five assists. Kevin Garnett picked up another double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Jeff Green, making his first return trip to Oklahoma City since being traded by the Thunder to Boston in 2011, scored eight points on 2-for-8 shooting. He'd scored 17 against his old teammates when the Celtics beat the Thunder in Boston back in November.

Thunder center Kendrick Perkins led OKC in the assist department with five. He also had six points, five rebounds, a block and a steal.

The Thunder held Boston to just 37.7 percent shooting for the game and forced 19 turnovers. Boston had held OKC to 41.7 percent through the third quarter, but the Thunder shot 50 percent (10-for-20) in the fourth.

QUOTABLE: "We knew it would be physical and I thought we did a good job matching that toughness. I thought our fourth quarter defense was as good as it can get."
-- Thunder head coach Scott Brooks

THE STAT: In the fourth quarter Oklahoma City held the Celtics to just 18.2 percent shooting (4-for-22) and 14 points. For the second half the Celtics were only slightly better shooting 25 percent (10-for-40).

TURNING POINT: An 11-2 Thunder run to open the fourth quarter extended a three point lead out to 12 and gave OKC the cushion it needed to hold off the Celtics the rest of the way.

QUOTABLE II: "I thought our shot selection was awful. We missed some open shots and we got stuck a lot on one side of the floor. We saw matchups that we had advantages on and I give them credit for fighting, but at some point you have to get the ball to the other side and we refused to do that."
-- Celtics head coach Doc Rivers

HOT: Boston started 9-for-18 (50 percent) and finished the first half 19-for-37 (51.4 percent)...Pierce was 5-for-7 (12 points) in the first half...Martin was 3-for-6 in the second half.

NOT: The Thunder started the game 7-for-21 (33.3 percent) and missed their last seven shots in the first quarter. OKC was also terrible down low in the first 12 minutes (3-for-11)...Westbrook was 2-for-6 (seven points) in the first quarter...Green was 1-for-4 in the first quarter...OKC finished the first half 14-for-35 (40 percent)...Westbrook had no rebounds and no assists in the first half...Martin was 1-for-6 (four points) in the first 24 minutes...Garnett was 1-for-10, Green was 1-for-6, Pierce and Bradley were 1-for-5 in the second half.

INSIDE THE ARENA: The 98th consecutive sell-out inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.

GOOD MOVE: Martin has struggled from the floor lately and he began this game 1-for-4 but on consecutive possessions in the second quarter Martin had a beautiful up and under assist to Nick Collison, grabbed a rebound at the other end of the floor then fed Derek Fisher for a 3-pointer.

GOOD MOVE TOO: OKC loves to run, Boston does not and the Celtics succeeded in keeping the game to a plodding pace through the first two and a half quarters. The Thunder got out in transition only three times in the first 30 minutes.

BAD MOVE: The Thunder had a lot of opportunities in the paint against the Celtics in the first half but OKC blew most of those bunnies going just 6-for-17 (35.3 percent) from the paint in the first 24 minutes.

NOTABLE: Durant has now scored 20 or more points against Boston in eight straight games...KD was 11-for-11 from the free throw line today, that's the sixth time this season he's been perfect from the stripe while shooting at least 10 free throws (leads the NBA)...With the win today the Thunder can tie the Spurs for first place in the Western Conference with a win tomorrow night in San Antonio.

UP NEXT: For the Celtics, Tuesday @ Charlotte, Wednesday vs. Toronto, Saturday vs. Charlotte. For the Thunder, Monday @ San Antonio, Wednesday vs. Utah, Friday vs. Orlando.