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Rapid Reaction: Thunder 97, Celtics 88

 
Oklahoma City Thunder 97 FinalRecap | Box Score 88 Boston Celtics
Kevin Garnett, PF 31 MIN | 5-19 FG | 2-2 FT | 12 REB | 5 AST | 12 PTS | -4
Garnett entered this game extremely pumped up, but ultimately his body didn’t live up to his intensity. Things started to get ugly in the second half when he hit the wall: he had no legs on his jumper and no touch at the basket. The twelve rebounds tie a season high for him, but they’re mostly the result of OKC going small.
Paul Pierce, SF 39 MIN | 8-15 FG | 6-6 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 24 PTS | -12
Durant-Pierce was a scary matchup before the game, but Pierce ultimately was the one who exposed Durant. He was given a free pass to the basket on several occasions, and got free for some big shots to bring the C’s within two in the fourth. Durant, meanwhile, was going to get his numbers no matter who was on him. Good to see some life from Pierce.
Jermaine O’Neal, C 26 MIN | 5-11 FG | 2-3 FT | 11 REB | 0 AST | 12 PTS | -3
Jermaine looks like he’s trying to rebound his way back into our broken hearts. 11 tonight, 12 against Indiana…he actually looks like he might be getting in the air. Shocking trivia: this was Jermaine’s second double-double as a Celtic. He gets a B+, but consider that a B+ is probably his ceiling.
Ray Allen, SG 39 MIN | 2-7 FG | 1-1 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 6 PTS | +2
Ray’s worst outing of the season, supplanting his last game in Indiana. He and Thabo Sefolosha must have switched bodies before the game. Just having him stand around must have made a difference, though, because he was a +2 in 39 minutes.
Rajon Rondo, PG 40 MIN | 6-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 9 AST | 12 PTS | -6
He was a rebound and an assist away from a triple-double, but Rondo never looked like he was in control of the offense. All the crazy lineups out there probably didn’t help. Shooting-wise, he was in last season’s form, he made his first jumper, then missed the rest. But it wasn’t his fault that Westbrook made all those threes; Westbrook taking them in the first place is a victory for the defense.
Marquis Daniels, SG 12 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | 0
Typical Marquis Daniels game, in that I’m not sure I remember him playing in it at all. Nice six rebounds, though.
Mickael Pietrus, SF 21 MIN | 5-9 FG | 1-2 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 14 PTS | -10
Pietrus is an unapologetic gunner. If somebody gets him the ball, he assumes his directive is to shoot. That strategy worked out pretty well tonight: he got hot from outside and gave the Celtics some late life. Still, not of much use
Brandon Bass, PF 22 MIN | 1-5 FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | -5
Bass did not have it tonight. “It” is his jumper, rebounding ability, or defensive intensity. The team needed a huge game from him and even tested him at center in their small lineup, but Bass gave them a whole bushel of nothing.
Greg Stiemsma, C 1 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -4
Thanks for getting dressed, Greg!
E’Twaun Moore, G 8 MIN | 0-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | -3
His last outing has given him a little undeserved confidence. Good! I hope he keeps it, but applies it to finding good looks for other players instead of getting his shot.

Five Things We Saw

  1. The Thunder winning a decisive battle in the ongoing NBA Age War. The Celtics put up a heroic front trying to keep pace with a visibly younger, faster, more athletic team. Even Rondo, potentially aging by proxy with all these geezers around him, looked at times too slow to check Russell Westbrook. Is old contagious?
  2. It may be too much to ask all of the Celtics stars to play well at the same time. Just as we saw a resurgence from Paul Pierce, KG and Ray scuttled right off a cliff. Still, it’s very encouraging to see that Pierce is still capable of shooting above 50 percent. If KG and Ray had been even average tonight, Boston would have beaten its first good team.
  3. Doc playing with some very unconventional lineups, not all of them successful. The “small lineup” of Pierce at PF and Bass/Garnett at center had its moments in transition, but looked totally helpless on defense. Doc went small just after the Celtics tied the score in the third, and things went south from there. He also subbed out Rondo when the Celtics should have been trying to stifle an OKC run to end the third. Accordingly, Boston turned the ball over on three possessions in a row.
  4. Points off turnovers. 24 for OKC, 2 for the Celtics–the difference in the game, and then some. When the other team is faster than you (which, if you’re Boston, every team is), you can’t afford to give up fast-break opportunities with sloppy passing. On the flip side, the Celtics don’t really have the speed to do anything with the turnovers that come to them.
  5. Russell Westbrook and Thabo Sefolosha combining for 12 points from long distance on the last four shots of the game. Westbrook: 27% from three, career. Sefolosha: 31%. Odds of them making four threes in a row: 0.7%. Luck is weird!
  • ripsonics

    first thing: Westbrook and that stupid gun and hulster thing is effing stupid, and i dont like him simply based on that. Your job is to lead a team and hit big shots. If Ray Allen hit that shot, he'd do a simple two finger gesture and it'd be done. So that is annoying.

    This team looks better though. In all honesty, our performance against elite teams hasn't been 'terrible' – it just hasnt been enough. I think once we start to execute better and rondo takes over on a regular basis, this team might survive. Pietrus looks great. Bass is still great off the bench. Ray needs the ball more. Kevin and Pierce are still working into game shape. to be honest, Pietrus should have been guarding durant the whole game. Best defender we have on the team. No doubt.

    I know that i sound like the eternal optimist, but i always look at the positives. If this team can hold it together and win some games against teams we should beat they might make a big push at the end.

    Hold true. Stay Green. Go C's

  • I_Love_Green

    Doc has got to start giving Rondo lineups to run with. We're a good offensive team when we run.

    • CwG

      I see that Memphis is shopping Mayo and the the Wizards are shopping Blatche……these are players that can play with Rondo and help transition into the future….that coupled with Jeff Green and the C's would be fine…but
      1. the subbing every 5 minutes has to stop…players cant develop a rhythm and get confused with who they are playing with
      2. the playbook has to be opened up a bit….teams know our plays and every variation
      3. the younger players have to play to give other teams a different look

      • Jamie

        You don't want Blatche. I see him 70 times a year as I live in Virginia and get the Wizards games. He is a gunner, plays zero defense and is mouthy to the media and his coach. He's a team cancer.

        • http://twitter.com/michaeljavid @michaeljavid

          couldn't have said it better myself

        • skeeds

          Mayo would be sweet though! I have no idea what we could give Memphis for him, but he's exactly the kind of player who could play perfectly with Rondo…

          wishful thinking…

    • ripsonics

      I_Love_Green –

      I_Love_this_comment

      Go C's

  • Hats

    Wait, we lose our 5th game in a row, by 9 points, and everyone gets a B? Was it Ray Allen´s fault that we lost?

    Good effort, nothing more.

    • hdavenport

      I refuse to dock credits for the four OKC threes at the end of the game.

      • ripsonics

        thank you hayes. honestly those threes were a little ridiculous. granted we shouldnt have dug a hole, but those threes won the game for OKC.

  • Jivansky

    I like the way C's played tonight against the Oklahoma City Thunder even though they lost the game.
    I think C's can get it along after few more games and they will start their winning streak.

    Let's go C's! We still believe! :)

  • http://twitter.com/michaeljavid @michaeljavid

    Sorry Hayes, I couldn't not mention this:

    You said Sefolosha has a 31% career 3PT percentage to make your point. Commentators today said he's the #2 percentage shooter behind Mister Shuttlesworth, so maybe this years number would be more appropriate.

    Still doesn't matter though, because Westbrook's three threes were such a statistical anomaly… that was annoying to watch. Thanks for the post.

    • http://twitter.com/michaeljavid @michaeljavid

      I pushed the current numbers, and the odds of that event SKYROCKETED to 1.6% chance of happening… still so unlikely…

  • skeeds

    As I said in a previous comment, Doc is STILL having a training camp through the season. He kept trying things and played his starters heavy minutes again, to get things into rhythm.
    Couple of interesting lineups are emerging, it's going to be more concrete soon. Look for that "small-ball" lineup to include Wilcox and Bass instead of Pierce, as it did before Wilcox got hurt.

    KG played as he should, so did Paul, and Pietrus' no bullshit 3 and D is a breath of fresh air. Finally, I know we're not big JO fans around here, I know I'm not, but JO's had a solid couple of games. Last night he was exactly on que. This kind of production is exactly what we need, and what we can get from him.

  • LACelticsFan

    Might be time to give JJJ some minutes, and rest the Big Ticket awhile. KG is laboring bad out there. Moore is playing a bit better than Bradley, but there is always room is that frontcourt rotation to get the rook the minutes per game.

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