Streaking Celtics beat Thunder
On Sunday night at the Chesapeake Energy Arena, the Boston Celtics beat the Oklahoma City Thunder, 100-85, to improve their record to 5-4. This win is their fourth in the last five games, after starting the season 1-3.
Avery Bradley made his return after missing the past two games due to a bruised lower leg. Celtics coach Brad Stevens chose to have Bradley come off the bench and went with the starting lineup of (point guard) Isaiah Thomas, (shooting guard) Marcus Smart, (small forward) Jae Crowder, (power forward) Amir Johnson, and (center) Jared Sullinger.
In the first quarter, the Celtics were able to keep up with the Thunder due, in most part to Marcus Smart and Isaiah Thomas’ high energy on offense and Jared Sullinger’s solid play on the defensive end. Smart and Thomas combined for 16 of the Celtics 24 points on the first quarter on 7-9 (77.8%) shooting from the field. On the defensive end, Sullinger had four rebounds along with a block and a steal. The Celtics ended the first quarter tied with the Thunder 24-24.
In the second quarter, the Celtic seemed to lose a lot of energy as they were outscored 28-21. They allowed the Thunder to shoot 50% (8-16) from the field and allowed them to get to the free throw line, to score an additional 10 points. The second quarter ended with the Thunder leading by seven (52-45).
After halftime the Celtics came back to life as they outscored the Thunder 27-22 in the third quarter. Marcus Smart found his shot once again as he scored 15 points in the third quarter alone while shooting 5-7 (71.4%) and shot a perfect 3-3 (100%) from behind the three point line. On the Defensive end the Celtics were able to grab another two steals a long with blocking another two shots. The third quarter ended with the Thunder leading 74-72.
The Celtics were able to complete their comeback in the fourth quarter as they outscored the Thunder 28-11. The Celtics played extraordinary basketball on both sides of the ball in the fourth quarter. On the defensive end they held the Thunder to just 2-17 (11.8%) shooting from the field while blocking four shots, grabbing three steals, and forcing four turnovers. On the offensive side the Celtics shot 9-18 (50%) from the field while they kept the ball moving as they dished out six assists.
Even though Russell Westbrook scored 27 points, Smart still played impeccable defense on Westbrook. Smart held Westbrook to 5-20 (25%) from the field and 2-10 (20%) shooting from behind the three point line.
“Uh, no. I don’t agree with you, but no. He had a good game…82 games. I do this. Don’t get it twisted,” Westbrook responded in a post-game interview when he was asked if Smarts performance was special.
This could spark a rivalry between the two, for when they next meet on March 16th.
Marcus Smart had a career night as he record 26 points, breaking his previous record of 25 points. He also recorded eight rebounds, three assists, a block, and a steal.
Jared Sullinger was two points away from his fourth straight game with a double-double as he scored eight points and grabbed a game leading 15 rebounds. Sullinger also led the Celtics with four steals. Amir Johnson had a team high of 3 blocks.
The Celtics next game will be Monday at 8 p.m. against the Houston Rockets at the Toyota Center.