Keys to the Game: Celtics 132, Thunder 123

Marc D'Amico
Team Reporter and Analyst

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Key Moment

Kendrick Perkins joined the NBC Sports Boston telecast Monday night and wondered aloud about whether the Celtics coaching staff told the team before the game, “It’s all about us, and not who we’re playing against.”

The reason he pondered that thought is because the Celtics came out and played against a 20-51 Oklahoma City team as if they were taking on one of the league’s title contenders.

Boston, playing the final game of its four-game road trip and on the second night of a back-to-back, played from ahead for the final 47:14 of the contest en route to a 132-123 win. The C’s pulled ahead for good when Jaylen Brown canned a turnaround, and-one jumper to make it 5-3 following his free throw. They went on to score 11 straight points, including Brown’s conventional three-point play, to pull ahead by 13 at the 9:49 mark of the opening quarter.

Following Brown’s three points, Grant Williams put home a cutting layup off a dish from Al Horford, and then Jayson Tatum and Williams canned back-to-back triples to make it 13-3. Boston’s lead expanded to as many as 17 points during the first quarter, and to as many as 26 during the game.

That run stood as a first-round knockout for Boston, as its lead remained in double-digits for nearly the entirety of the remainder of the contest. Oklahoma City made a fluke run during the final minutes of the contest, but the Celtics’ victory was never truly in jeopardy.

Key Player

While Jayson Tatum just won the Eastern Conference Player of the Week award, Payton Pritchard is in the lead for the Eastern Conference Reserve of the Week award.

OK, OK… that award doesn’t actually exist, but if it did, Pritchard would be the frontrunner.

Pritchard continued his hot stretch of play Monday night by pouring in 18 points off the bench for Boston. He shot 6-for-13 from the field and 5-for-11 from long range while tacking on one free throw. Pritchard also contributed three rebounds, two assists and one steal during the contest.

This performance comes one night after the second-year point guard scored 17 against the Nuggets while canning all five of his 3-pointers, and just three nights after he scored 14 points while canning all four of his 3-pointers Friday against Sacramento.

Pritchard scored in double-figures during each of Boston’s four road games during the trip and shot 61.5 percent overall from long distance.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Jayson Tatum (36) and Jaylen Brown (25) each scored at least 25 points for the fourth straight game.
  • Five Celtics scored at least 18 points.
  • Grant Williams notched the first double-double of his career during a spot start by logging 20 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
  • Tre Mann (35 points) and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (31 points_ each broke the 30-point barrier for OKC.
  • The teams combined to commit only 19 turnovers, eight by Boston and 11 by Oklahoma City.
  • Gilgeous-Alexander dished out a game-high nine assists.
  • Al Horford led Boston with seven assists.
  • Each team scored at least 56 points in the paint, with the Thunder logging 60 and Boston logging 56.
  • Boston led by as many as 26 points.
  • The teams combined to make 32 3-pointers on 41.6 percent shooting.
  • Payton Pritchard scored 18 points off the bench for Boston.

Quote of the Night

Ime Udoka on grabbing the win but allowing OKC to make a late run