The Boston Celtics lost the first game of their mini road trip on Wednesday night to the Oklahoma City Thunder, 122-118.
The Celtics weathered the initial storm in Oklahoma City, avoiding the oft-repeated NBA practice of falling behind early on the road. Behind perfect shooting from Tyler Zeller, the Celtics were quick on their feet on both ends of the court, highlighted by a surprising defended reverse dunk by Evan Turner on a fast break. After the respectable start, Boston entered the second quarter down 28-24.
In the second, the Celtics stayed aggressive and rode the shooting of homecomer Marcus Smart and steady play of Zeller to win the frame 33-25 and enter halftime with a lead, 57-53.
Brad Stevens said at halftime that a team can mask defensive mistakes when they are making shots on the offensive end. Such apparent mistakes were not disguised as well in the third quarter. Behind the characteristically rabid play and demeanor of Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City unleashed on offense by scoring 40 points in twelve minutes to only 24 for the Celtics for a commanding 93-81 lead.
Especially hard to take since Boston was down only 84-80 with 49.2 seconds left before closing out the last few seconds getting outscored 9-1.
Boston's free throw shooting was disgusting throughout, and their three-point percentage was almost as bad. Never seeming to leave a 12-point deficit throughout the last quarter, the Celtics seemed to not have a final run left in them. A Smart trifecta with about three minutes left pulled the men in green to within 8. Not long thereafter Olynyk hit his own to come within 108-103.
But a long 2-point jump shot by Westbrook poured water on any intention Boston had a firing off a late-game run and a flurry of fouls shots near the end were the final nails in the coffin for this contest.
Follow ChrisChris Quimby 3/18/2015 10:30:00 PM Tweet Edit