The Boston Celtics capped off their 4 game road trip with another win, extending their win streak to 7 games. Boston saved their best game for last on the road trip. Last night they faced off against Kevin Durant and a very good Oklahoma City Thunder team. Durant would finish with 36 points but still wasn't enough to beat Boston.
Two weeks ago Boston was struggling, losing 3 out of 4 games in one week. Questions were creeping up. How is KG's knee? Will KG ever return to form? Is the bench not as strong as we thought? But since then, the Celtics have been rolling and have quieted down the doubts.
The spark has been KG. Over the past week, KG is starting to show the same explosiveness of old. He still needs to wear a brace and still needs to ice his knee down every time he's on the bench, but he is clearly finding his legs. And if KG is playing well, the rest of the team will follow. The best sign that KG is getting healthier is his points in the paint. He's starting to post up and bang around in the paint. Lately, KG has slammed several alley-oops with brutal force. His intensity has been contagious. Boston has played great team basketball and they look as focused as they were to start the season.
Last night, the Celtics faced off against Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder is no longer a push over. Led by Kevin Durant, the Thunder were 10-8 going into the game with wins over the Spurs, Jazz, Heat, and the Magic. The Celtics beat the Spurs the night before surviving a late push in the 4th quarter. Boston wanted to cap the road trip with a win. Right from the start of the game, they looked good. Pierce was hot early in the game, scoring 21 points in the first half. The difference maker of the game was my man, Kevin Garnett. He had three ferocious slam dunks in the paint in the first half showing the Thunder they were in for a physical game.
At the end of the first half, the Celtics had an 11 point lead scoring 60 points. In the 3rd quarter, the Celts pulled away. They played great team defense creating several turnovers and bad shots. After getting burned on the boards by the Spurs the night before, Boston had a much better night rebounding, out rebounding the Thunder 40-30 and only gave up 6 offensive rebounds. The ball movement was spectacular in the 3rd led by Rajon Rondo. After a quiet first half, Rondo started pushing the ball up the court with great speed and helped to extend Boston's lead by as much as 24 points. Coach Rivers was able to rest Rondo, Perk, KG, and Pierce for the whole 4th quarter. The box score shows how well the Celts moved the ball and got contributions from everyone.
Kevin Garnett – 23 points
Paul Pierce – 21 points
Kendrick Perkins – 13 points
Ray Allen – 11 points
Rajon Rondo – 15 points
Rasheed Wallace – 10 points
Eddie House – 11 points
In contrast, the Thunder didn't move the ball well at all. They finished with 11 assists as compared to Boston's 24. Kevin Durant was incredible offensively but was content on taking the shot even if he had 4 Celtics all over him. Though Durant finished with 36 points, he had 0 assists. It's very clear he's going to be a great player in the NBA, currently 3rd in the league in scoring, but he's not quite there yet. Once he starts sharing the ball, the Thunder will be a dangerous team.
Boston Celtics are now the top team in the Eastern Conference. The players will be getting a much needed break for a few days. Next up for Boston are the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night at home. Unfortunately, it's only one quick home game and then it's back on the road for 3 games.
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Written by johnw