Three quick takeaways from the Thunder's 134-129 loss to the Celtics
Quite a warm-up act for the Super Bowl in Beantown.
Boston defeated Oklahoma City 134-129 on Sunday afternoon at TD Garden.
Here are three things to know about the game:
1. The Thunder’s seven-game winning streak is over. Quality defense had been the hallmark of that stretch, but OKC wasn’t close to good enough defensively to beat Boston. The Celtics were 54 of 91 from the floor, shooting 59.3 percent.
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And it wasn’t the 3-ball necessarily that killed the Thunder. The Celtics were 13 of 34 from deep, but with a team that shoot as well as Boston does from outside, OKC could’ve lived with it shooting 38.2 percent. But the Celtics had 58 points in the paint. While the Thunder had 56 of its own, the Celtics got too many good looks. Drives. Dishes.
At the end of the first half, the Celtics hit seven of their last eight shots, the only miss coming in desperation as time expired. The Thunder had similar lapses throughout the afternoon. Its defense had to be better to win this game.
2. Russell Westbrook had that costly turnover with about 10 seconds left in the game. Got going a little too fast. Drove into too many defenders. But without his play, the Thunder wouldn’t have been within striking distance.
He notched his 19th triple double of this season with 22 points, 12 rebounds and 16 assists. Even more impressive, it was his sixth consecutive game with triple double. He’s had four streaks during his career with at least five consecutive triple doubles, an NBA record.
Here’s a little more on Westbrook: he was 8 of 19 from the floor. Not as bad as we’ve seen, but not as good as he used to be. He continues to struggle with his shot. But the All-Star remains a force. No hanging his head. No giving in. It’s impressive stuff, even if his shooting percentage isn’t.
3. The Thunder got little from its bench. Dennis Schroder led the way as he often does among the reserves, scoring 16 points. But with Abdel Nader out due to illness, Billy Donovan had a much shorter bench to work with – and the guys who were available didn’t do much. Patrick Patterson and Hamidou Diallo had five points each while Nerlens Noel had two points, and that was it.
It led to the Thunder bench being outscored 39-28.
That second bunch has to be more productive in games against teams like Boston. Not having Nader hurt, but Alex Abrines didn’t play at all. The Thunder has to get more out of him. The same could be said of the entire bench.
Next up: The Thunder returns home from its three-game East Coast road swing with back-to-back home games. Orlando comes to town Tuesday followed by Memphis on Thursday. Both games tip at 7 p.m.