CELTICS 96
THUNDER 119
3 Steals for Kevin Durant, part of 10 for the Thunder, in addition to 21 points, eight assists and seven rebounds

6 Assists for Jeremy Lamb, a career-high and part of 28 on the night for the Thunder, in addition to 13 points

11 Rebounds for Serge Ibaka in addition to 17 points, his 15th double-double of the year

12-5 Second chance points for the Thunder, as it out-rebounded Boston 43-37

27 Points for Reggie Jackson, a career-high, on 9-for-12 shooting

39-28 Edge for the Thunder in bench points, as four different players had at least six points

50-34 The Thunder’s advantage in points in the paint, where it shot 25-for-45 and held Boston to 17-for-39 shooting

51.8 Shooting percentage for the Thunder, including 9-for-19 shooting from three-point range

GAME IN REVIEW

mailbag@thunder-nba.com
Dec. 5th, 2013
RECAP:

Reggie Jackson took the in-bounds pass from Nick Collison and called out the offensive set as his teammates got into position.

At the elbow, Serge Ibaka set a screen for Jackson then popped out, ready to receive Jackson’s pass. Within three seconds, the ball was in the bottom of the net. Ibaka swung the ball on the perimeter to Perry Jones, who took one dribble and dished to a waiting Jeremy Lamb who sunk a corner three-pointer.

For the Thunder, it was a perfect possession and the one-play snapshot of its high-level ball movement that helped them burst out to a 119-96 victory over the Boston Celtics on Sunday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

When it was all said and done, the Thunder racked up 28 assists on 43 made baskets while only turning the ball over nine times, a season-low. Eight different Thunder players scored at least six points on the night as nine different players recorded at least one assist, including a career-high six from Jeremy Lamb in the second unit. Head Coach Scott Brooks’ club scored a season-high-tying 66 first half points then clamped down on defense in the second half to come away with the win.

“We did a great job of passing the ball tonight,” Brooks said. “It was one of our better games offensively. Reggie started the game off and hiss stroke was right on target. KD (Kevin Durant) had great moments in the middle of the game and Serge and Jeremy did a good job of closing the game out. Our passing and taking care of the basketball was at a premium tonight.”

“It was a team effort,” Jackson said. “The team was doing a great job of moving the ball, attacking gaps, finding the extra pass and making the pass to the right guy. That’s good to see.”

The tone of selflessness and precision with which the Thunder attacked Boston was set early by none other than team leader Kevin Durant, who notched three of his game-high eight assists in the first quarter. In just 27 minutes the perennial All-Pro notched 21 points, seven rebounds and three steals to go with his eight helpers, with no turnovers to his name.

Durant’s verve, intensity and free-flowing play at the end of the first half and beginning of the second helped spark a 21-7 Thunder run that spanned halftime, keeping Boston at bay and giving the starters an opportunity to rest for almost all of the fourth quarter.

“We always want to come out in that third quarter with some energy,” Durant said. “It’s on me to get everybody involved and also be aggressive for myself. Me being aggressive is maybe being aggressive for my teammates. They put me in great positions and I was able to make some passes and they finished them.”

While Durant took over in the middle quarters, Serge Ibaka and Jeremy Lamb closed the door on Boston for the Thunder, combining to score 30 points, grab 14 rebounds and dish out nine assists, including 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists in the second half.

It was Jackson who put his stamp on the game early, as he went off for a career-high 27 points on 9-for-12 shooting from the field, including 3-for-3 from behind the three-point line. By keeping his motor running for the entire 24 seconds of every possession, Jackson dissected the Celtics defense by getting into the lane, finishing with both hands and scoring on jumpers, floaters, dunks and layups.

“I got some opportunities at the rim,” Jackson said. “The bigs were doing a great job of screening. They were being aggressive so I was able to get a little free. It was mostly getting downhill, staying in attack mode and getting to the rim.”

As Jackson continues to get more-and-more comfortable with his new role as the Thunder’s starting point guard with Russell Westbrook sidelined after knee surgery, he and his teammates will continue to work through ups and downs.

Team leaders like Kendrick Perkins, who scored a season-high 12 points tonight, understand Jackson’s importance to the team and also that their support of the third-year guard is critical to his ever-growing confidence and ability to impact the game on both the offensive and defensive ends at perhaps the most critical position on the floor.

“He played really relaxed today,” Perkins said. “He was Reggie. He just played his game. That’s what he has to do and we have to keep encouraging him as a team and as an organization, to be Reggie. We can’t make him be anything that he’s not.”

“He’s a score-first, attack point guard,” Perkins continued. “We need that out of him. We need him to be aggressive. This was a good game for him.”

TURNING POINT:

The Celtics had cut the Thunder’s lead to just two, at 51-49 with 3:15 remaining in the first half. Behind a 21-7 run that spanned halftime, the Thunder broke the game open and never led by less than 11 the rest of the way. The burst started with a Kevin Durant fadeaway jumper, then Kendrick Perkins and Durant each made two free throws. Durant then added back-to-back fast break layups off of Perkins’ long outlet passes and followed that up with two more free throws. Reggie Jackson knocked down a three-pointer from Durant with 32.5 seconds left in the half as the Thunder went to the break leading 66-56.

Coming out of halftime, the Thunder scored six straight points on a Perkins put-back layup, a Serge Ibaka fast break dunk and a Durant pull-up jumper to give the Thunder a 72-56 edge with 10:32 remaining in the third quarter. During the stretch, the Thunder forced Boston into five missed shots and three turnovers.

PLAYS THE BOX SCORE DOESN'T SHOW, FIRST HALF:

Beautiful touch on a back-door lob from Kevin Durant to Reggie Jackson for a layup. Kendrick Perkins’ on-ball defense in the lane forces Boston into a shot clock violation. Sefolosha’s activity on the perimeter to slap the ball away gets the Thunder out into transition, where Reggie Jackson nails a jumper. Perkins swallows up his man’s attempted drive to the bucket. Incredible ball movement as four different Thunder players touched the ball on the same possession to get a corner three-pointer. Slick passing between Nick Collison and Jeremy Lamb in the two man game to get a wide open jumper. Perkins leaps back to get a hand on the ball to tip an offensive rebound to a teammate.

PLAYS THE BOX SCORE DOESN'T SHOW, SECOND HALF:

Strong box out by Thabo Sefolosha to come away with a defensive rebound, which then immediately led to his own three-pointer. Perkins sets a perfects creena t the top of the key to give Durant an opening for a shot. Durant hustles back in transition to intercept a would-be alley-oop. Ibaka sticks with the play and puts a hand in to tip an offensive rebound to a teammate. Perry Jones hustles back in transition to cut off a pass. Collison steps over in helpside defense to draw a charge.



“We moved the ball well. We got out and ran. We knew if we moved the ball and guys cut, we’d be able to score at will. Then we did a pretty decent job in the second half of holding them to 40 points.” - center Kendrick Perkins

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