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Recap: Oklahoma City Thunder win BIG and take the cheers out of Boston, 130-109

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The playoffs are less than a month away. The time for kicking the tires is over. Now it's serious.

The run to the playoffs has begun and the Oklahoma City Thunder followed up a convincing win at home against the Portland Trailblazers with an even more convincing win against the Eastern Conference third seed Boston Celtics. Kevin Durant opened the scoring with a statement 3-pointer over Marcus Smart and the Thunder never looked back. Leading wire to wire and by as much 30 points, the Thunder dominated play for three quarters and kicked off this 3 game east road swing in grand fashion.

Durant, having missed 4 straight meetings against the Celtics, wasted no time making his presence felt following the opening trey finishing the first quarter with 12 points, 3 rebounds, an assist, a blocked shot and most importantly, no turnovers. Valuing the basketball, ball movement, and getting back on defense keyed the blowout and hopefully signals the beginning of a strong run through the end of the season and into the playoffs.

The win didn't come without a few warts however. Serge Ibaka's two rebounds in 23:40 playing time and Enes Kanter's defensive struggles still are serious cause for concern. Serge's rebounding woes stems from a combination of bad positioning and not putting in the effort to block out and create rebounding space. Hopefully as the stakes go up so will Ibaka's effort because Boston's 13 2nd chance points in the first half kept the game closer than it really was.

Kanter's problem is even more troubling. At some point his consistent tendency to find himself in no-man's land has to start being looked at as a conscious decision to avoid contact. Further, when he accidentally found himself in a perfect position to take a charge against Isaiah Thomas, the smallest player on the court, simply by setting his feet and chose to move his feet instead, it leaves little doubt about Kanter's commitment on the defensive side of things and explains why he will continue to find himself on the bench in tight late game situations.

Enough with the bad and now with the good. Ball movement to the tune of 23 assists and scoring. Earlier this season, ESPN analyst Jalen Rose was talking about the keys to the Thunder having success on offense and said, "the ball has energy". He added that in the games he had watched, when the Thunder was moving the ball and getting everyone involved it effected every single aspect of their game and we saw that tonight.

Five different Thunder broke double digits and every player either scored or contributed with an assist and that lead to one of the best defensive games (Kanter throwing open the welcome sign in the paint not withstanding) of the season holding a Celtic team that averages 26.8 points from beyond the arc to just 15.

Protecting the basketball and only committing 10 turnovers against a team that averages forcing 16.5 per game minimized easy run-outs and getting back on defense limited the Celtics who average 18.9 pts off turnovers to a mere 9 pts. The combined 20 points from those two efforts proved to be the final margin of victory.

DION RETURNS TO THE FLOOR

Dion Waiters returned to action for the Thunder for the first time since the death of his younger brother Demetrius Pinckney. Donovan limited Waiters to just over 11 minutes and I for one was glad to see him back in action and found myself smiling when Dion let go with his signature "AND ONE!" on a drive in the second quarter. Welcome back D.

and now for something different...

WORDS OF WISDOM FROM THE WTLC COMMENT SECTION!!

Problem with national TV

They said Roberson was only starting so Donovan could ease Waiters in. As if he hasn’t been the starter all season?

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Kanter in.....

the paint is OPEN

Thunder UP! Or go home.

and immediately gives up a layup

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Foye, wherefoye art thou ?

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Westbrook pullup 3 is falling, this game is over

Manager of Welcome to Loud City 
Twitter: @MarinaWTLC 
Thunder fan since 2008!

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can we take Foye off now please

he’s getting slower & slower & has played the 4th highest minutes.

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4 turnovers in the half...

Um… is that normal? That’s way too low, that’s very unusual to see.
BUT DEFINITELY NOT UNWELCOME!

Unfortunately, this is where my night with OKC ends, I have a rehearsal to go to. Let’s hope for the W.

Marina Mangiaracina

Payne!!!!

Manager of Welcome to Loud City 
Twitter: @MarinaWTLC 
Thunder fan since 2008!

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and my favorite of the night

Marina Mangiaracina

gliding, elevating!

Manager of Welcome to Loud City 
Twitter: @MarinaWTLC 
Thunder fan since 2008!

Is it bad I assumed you meant he airballed something?

I’m on a delayed stream..

Poor Robes, even his biggest fan disses his shot.....

Box Score and Play-by-Play

R.K's Awards

Thunder Wonder:

Kevin Durant for leading the ball movement charge with 9 assists and scoring a team high 28 points.

Thunder Down Under: 

Dion Waiters.... because he played.

Thunder Blunder:

Enes Kanter. Enes, you are 6'11" and weigh 245 pounds and you couldn't hold your mud when you had 5'9", 185 lb Isaiah Thomas dead to rights and all you had to do was set your feet and take the charge. All the points and rebounds in the world just don't make up for that.

Thunder Plunderer: 

The big bad man that scared Enes. Isaiah Thomas. 29 points that really got started when Miss Kanter came in the game and threw the "We're Open" sign up in the paint.

NEXT LEG OF THE PLAYOFF RUN:

Fri. 18-Mar-16 at Philadelphia 6 PM FSO - Dion goes home. I can't fathom another letdown against another conference bottom feeder in this one. Should be an easy win against the hapless Sixers.

Sat. 19-Mar-16 at Indiana 6 PM FSO - Another Eastern Conference playoff team on the road, and this team is a top ten team in points allowed on the second night of a back-to-back. Tough house and tougher defense will make this Indiana Pacer team a tough row to hoe.

Tue. 22-Mar-16 Houston 7 PM TNT - The bearded one comes to the Peake. The Rockets are struggling, but could represent the Thunder's first round opponents in the playoffs if the Trailblazers slip. Let the good times roll.

Thu. 24-Mar-16 Utah 7 PM FSO - Don't look past the Jazz I don't care who is coming to town on Saturday, you will regret it.

Sat. 26-Mar-16 San Antonio 7 PM FSO NBA TV - Thunder 1, Spurs 1. This would be an excellent time for the Thunder to make a statement against their probable foe in the second round of the playoffs.

What are your thoughts on the Thunder's next 5 opponents? Drop in a comment below.