That’s the main thing about an experienced team like Boston: they play their game, and it’s up to the opposition to adjust. Right now, the Thunder hasn’t quite figured out how to play their own game, and the Celtics left them befuddled for most of the evening, pinning a 92-83 loss on Kevin Durant and company at the Edsel Center.
The first few minutes suggested a half-court grindout, but the Celtics picked up some serious steam, running up a 58-37 lead by halftime. Durant and Russell Westbrook took over in the third, scoring 27 between them while holding the Celtics to 15, but Oklahoma City never got closer than six points. And then there’s the Jeff Green Factor: Uncle Jeff rolled his ankle in practice yesterday and didn’t play, Serge Ibaka getting the start at the four, and not even a worthy 34-point effort by Durant (Westbrook had 16) was enough to offset Green’s absence. The Thunder are shooting better, if you call 42.7 percent “better.”
Boston also displayed some serious depth: the Celtics’ bench contributed 33 points to the cause, even without Shaq, who saw no playing time. In the battle of the point guards, Westbrook (16 points/10 assists) beat out Rajon Rondo (10 points/10 assists), but you could argue that Rondo didn’t need to do much, what with the second unit doing so well and the Thunder giving up the ball 18 times in 48 minutes.
So the homestand starts out on a sour note. There’s a bit of a break before the 76ers arrive on Wednesday; Friday, it’s a rematch with Portland, and the Blazers will have vengeance on their minds.