This year’s Celtics are pretty formidable, and you have to figure they’re more so at home at the TD Garden; coming in, both Boston and Oklahoma City had 17-12 records. And the Greenies led early on, though the Thunder caught up and passed them in the second quarter and remained ahead halfway through the fourth. What happened, of course, was Isaiah Thomas, the five-foot-nine fireplug who scored 15 of the Celtics’ 17 points in those six minutes, enough to put Boston back in the lead. The Thunder crawled back despite three fouls on Andre Roberson, who managed only one of six free throws; what Roberson did accomplish was to put the brakes on Thomas long enough to regain that lead. Thomas, of course, wouldn’t stay down forever, and an and-one just before the one-minute mark brought the Celtics back to within three, but Russell Westbrook wasn’t having any of that. At :30, OKC was up eight; Al Horford delivered a timely trey, but Westbrook put it away at the foul line. The final was 117-112, and while radio guy Matt Pinto will tell you it wasn’t the Thunder’s finest hour defensively, there’s a lot to be said for neutralizing Thomas, even if it made Dre’s free-throw record look even worse than it was.
Then again, can someone with 34 points and 10 assists, as Thomas was, be legitimately described as “neutralized”? Maybe not. Horford kicked in 23 more. However, the Boston reserves came up with only 19 points, one less than Thunder bench leader Enes Kanter. And if it wasn’t Anthony Morrow’s night (1-5, two points), Domantas Sabonis came up with a career-high 20, including three treys. And then there’s Westbrook, who seems to operate on another plane of existence, turning in a 45-11-11 line, including 20 points in the fourth quarter. (Slight offset: the rest of the team scored 9.)
The Thunder is at home for Christmas, to play the Timberwolves, before going back on the road to take on the Heat and the Grizzlies.