The game plan with Russell Westbrook gone had been simple enough: run it through Kevin Durant. But never before had the Thunder called for Plan B, with both Westbrook and Durant sidelined. Obviously Perry Jones III would start at the, um, three, but what would happen? The Celtics, with Rajon Rondo back and Jeff Green coming off a 39-point performance Wednesday, were hoping for something other than what they got, which was a standard Thunder defensive drubbing to the tune of 101-83.
In the absence of Kid Delicious, the Thunder scoring was spread around, with five in double figures. Serge Ibaka, who actually did not block a shot, had a game-high 21; Jeremy Lamb, apparently over his shooting woes, added 19; Reggie Jackson and Thabo Sefolosha snagged 14 and 13 respectively. Jones, who played 33 minutes, more than anyone else, checked in with 10. (Kendrick Perkins, not quite forgotten by the Beantown faithful, scored six and hauled in nine rebounds.)
Uncle Jeff did lead the Celtics with 16 on a respectable 7-17, though he was 6-9 from within the arc; in fact, the Celtics hoisted 27 treys and saw only five go in. (OKC made five out of 13.) Rondo, on the court for 22 minutes, did not shoot well 2-7 for five points but did serve up eight assists, which put him even with Jackson. The Boston reserves were greenish but game; while veteran Brandon Bass led the bench with 11, rookie guard Phil Pressey impressed with nine points, six assists and two steals in 30 minutes.
So for now: no Durant, no problem. Tomorrow: the 76ers, who were just thrashed by Toronto, in Philly. And when KD gets back, he’ll have something to shoot for: the Knicks went off for 125 points against the Bobcats tonight, and Carmelo Anthony had almost half of them. ‘Melo, who played 39 minutes, went 23-35 and 6-11 from deep, plus ten of ten free throws, for 62 points. Kid Delicious won’t ever say so, but he’s gonna try to beat that. You know it.