The Thunder have looked a bit like Jekyll and Hyde on the court this week, and if the last two games were Dr Jekyll, then tonight it was Mr Hyde...at least for nearly three quarters, and then Dr Jekyll returned as the Celtics began to run away with the win. The Thunder hung right with the Celtics all night long, and even had a solid 8 point lead during the middle half of the third quarter before the Celtics mounted a charge that didn't seem to end until the entire game was over. They erased the 8 point deficit, and headed into the 4th quarter with a 3 point lead. They continued the beginning of the 4th, just as they finished the 3rd, by dominating the Thunder. The Celtics went on to win the game by a final score of 103-84.
Once again the Thunder lost the battle of the boards as the Celtics grabbed 48 rebounds to Oklahoma City's 36. Despite the disadvantage in rebounding, the Thunder played right with the Celtics all night long, until late in the 3rd quarter. Had the Thunder done a better job rebounding, that 8 point lead could have gotten as lopsided as 20 points and perhaps the momentum of a 20 point lead would have been too much for even the World Champion Celtics to overcome. Then again, perhaps not, the last few minutes of the third, and the entire fourth quarter were dominated by the Celtics, so much so, that even a 20 point lead probably wouldn't have saved the Thunder.
Of course, even if the Thunder would have been able to get the win, it wouldn't have been as impressive as the win against the Spurs, when you consider that Kevin Garnett was not playing. At least in my estimation it wouldn't have been. KG makes a huge impact on the game, and had he started and been 100%, the Thunder might not have played the Celts so close for three quarters or gained as large a lead as they did during that third period. Even still, it was nice to see the Thunder play with a caliber of team that the Celtics are, even if for only three quarters.
Russell Westbrook was the teams leading scorer tonight with 23 points, followed by Kevin Durant with 21, and Jeff Green with 15. Even though RW0 lead the team in scoring, his effectiveness in other categories was lacking with only 2 assists and 2 rebounds. I love Westbrook, but as a point guard, he really needs to work this summer on feeding his teammates a little better. Kyle Weaver came off the bench and dished out 7 assists to make up for RW0's lack of creating for other players tonight. Paul Pierce led the way for the Celtics with 27 points, followed by Glen "Big Baby" Davis who had 19. If you didn't catch the live commenting thread during the game, Kevin Durant inadvertently elbowed Big Baby in the forehead causing blood to come gushing out everywhere. He returned to the game after going to the locker room and having 10 stitches put in to close the gash.
Thunder have tomorrow off before playing the Spurs in San Antonio on Tuesday before heading back home to take on the Portland Trailblazers on Friday. The positive thing to take out of tonight's loss was how well the Thunder played for three quarters compared to the way they have played the entirety of their last two games, which to say the least, was uninspiring basketball, at best. Hopefully getting back close to home will have a positive effect on their on court play Tuesday night.