Boston’s baseball team is on the way to the Left Coast. Meanwhile, their basketball team has come to Oklahoma City, and while the Celtics are considered something like Eastern Conference elite, the Thunder pounded them nicely for twenty-four minutes, taking a 50-34 lead at the half. The Beantowners weren’t about to give the game away, and put together a 40-23 third quarter to go up by one with twelve minutes to play. OKC responded, and then seemed to stop responding: after pushing the lead back to nine, they saw the Celtics tie it up in the last minute, and then take a three-point lead on a Marcus Morris jumper with 27 seconds left. Morris then sank a free throw to put it out of reach; Al Horford, fouled in the waning moments, dropped in two more, and that was the end of that. Celtics 101, Oklahoma City 95, and the Thunder have the kind of 0-4 opening that makes you wonder if maybe P. J. Carlesimo is hiding in the arena somewhere.
OKC failed to shoot 40 percent; perhaps worse, they failed to shoot 60 percent from the free-throw line. (Fourteen of 25; that’s 56 percent.) Paul George put up 22 shots for 22 points; Russell Westbrook, 20 shots for 13 points. Westbrook, in fact, had his second double-double in two games. But none of those points came in the last four minutes of the game, in which the only Thunder scoring was a single Steven Adams free throw. Meanwhile, Marcus Morris, off the Celtic bench, was scarfing up a 21/10 double-double; Jayson Tatum popped up 24 points, and Al Horford added 19 more.
The Suns will be visiting Sunday. Phoenix has not been exactly rolling so far this season; then again, they’ve actually won one of four games so far. Meanwhile, there’s still baseball.