No triple-double? No problem. The Oklahoma City Thunder overcame a plucky Boston Celtics squad to capture a come-from-behind 99-96 triumph.
Russell Westbrook’s celebrated streak of triple-doubles ended at seven games. However, the quarter-season MVP candidate willed his Thunder to victory, netting 13 fourth-quarter points to finish with a game-high 37.
Though Oklahoma City struggled with three-point shooting (3-of-21) and early turnovers, the cardiac kids finished on a commanding 21-8 scoring burst to secure a seventh win in eight games.
For Boston, Al Horford (19 points), Avery Bradley (18), and Jae Crowder (18) paced a balanced offensive effort that fell just short of a 14th win.
After losing starting shooting guard Victor Oladipo to injury late in the first, Oklahoma City received strong efforts from Steven Adams (16 pts, 8 rbs), Enes Kanter (14 pts), and Semaj Christon (9 pts).
Boston Celtics vs Oklahoma City Thunder - Full Game Highlights | Dec 11, 2016 | 2016-17 NBA Season: https://t.co/9Jspm7XuLr via— NBA Studio (@nbafanseason) December 12, 2016
The home-standing Thunder opened in haphazard fashion, committing five turnovers in the game's first six minutes. Jae Crowder capitalized on these miscues to score nine of Boston's first 11 points. However, for OKC, Enes Kanter (6 pts) and Russell Westbrook (8) kept things close. Unfortunately, as the first quarter neared conclusion, Victor Oladipo sustained a game-ending wrist injury. The visiting Celtics took a 24-21 lead into the second frame.
Throughout a low scoring second-quarter, a balanced Boston iteration neutralized Oklahoma City's 18-11 rebounding edge to forge ahead 43-39 at intermission.
Russell Westbrook (14 pts, 6 ast, 2 rebs) led all scorers at the break. Overall the Thunder enjoyed a 29-18 opening-half rebounding advantage. However OKC's nine turnovers and scant eight assists hampered the team's production. To further complicate matters, Oklahoma City misfired on each of its 13 first-half three-point attempts.
For the Celtics, Jae Crowder (12 pts) and Al Horford (11) fueled a balanced first-half attack that featured 14 total assists and seven steals. The C’s also connected on 5-of-17 three-point attempts.
Boston's 13-7 jolt to begin the penultimate frame placed the Thunder in a double-digit hole. Feeling a sense of urgency, both Westbrook (10 pts) and Steven Adams (9 pts) would help slice the Celtics' advantage to four heading into the contest's final stanza.
Semaj Christon's made free throw briefly knotted the game at 71 before Boston went on a 9-2 run. Undaunted, a Westbrook three-pointer tied the contest at 92 with 2:49 remaining. A Steven Adams ATO block and subsequent Horford turnover granted OKC a pristine opportunity to seize the advantage.
And seize the advantage Oklahoma City did. With 30.6 remaining, Russell Westbrook hoisted the Thunder ahead 96-94. From that point a tenacious Thunder defense closed the show. As the final horn sounded, Oklahoma City improved its record to 15-9 with a thrilling 99-96 win.
The Thunder next play Tuesday night vs. Portland.