The Celtics have the best record in the NBA after extending their winning streak to seven in a 101-94 comeback victory in Oklahoma City. It was their most impressive win of the young season and the second half was one of the better ones played by any team this year.
Quick thoughts from the early morning…
- Al Horford is early season All NBA and in the running for DPOY. He was sensational down the stretch tonight posting 20/8/4 on 8-10/4-4. In a world where versatile big men reign, the Celtics have one of the best.
- Kyrie struggled for a bit and then just decided to stop struggling. A rough first half gave way to a big second where he cut up OKC with a combination of drives and off-ball action. By the end, the Thunder were trying to contain him with Andre Roberson, without much success.
- Jayson Tatum kept the Celtics in it, as much as they were in it, early. He continues to look way past his years. When he gets to the rim he should dunk it, though. No more missed bunnies!
- Jaylen couldn’t find the shooting stroke he had against the Kings but a great trait for any player, that Brown has in spades, is to answer adversity with effort. Many young players let the rest of their game sag when their shot isn’t falling. Jaylen steps his effort up instead.
- All the young players continue to make positive impacts in a way that no one could reasonably expect. Semi Ojeleye was in the game late in the fourth quarter and guarding Paul George. He only took one shot, but that one shot was a clutch bucket.
- Marcus Morris made his season debut and found ways to contribute. I’ll never love his offensive game but against teams like the Thunder his defensive versatility is important. The way he fought for rebounds was also encouraging.
- Marcus Smart didn’t have his customary big scoring night in Oklahoma but did his thing, as always. Late in the game when the Thunder put Roberson on Kyrie, Brad turned point over to Marcus and he made a huge play getting into the teeth of the defense and finding Horford for an open three.
- Carmelo is the fourth best player on his team but doesn’t act like it. He took some bad shots and didn’t make many of the good ones. It’s not a lack of effort… it’s just his 15th season and his teammates are younger and better.
- That might have been the least forceful game Russell Westbrook has ever played against the Celtics and he still had 19/6/11.
- Steven Adams is beast who got in some of the Celtics’ heads in the first half but Brad went small in the second half and Horford pulled him into space effectively.
- OKC was energetic and dominant in the first half but I thought a bit of it was Boston missing a bunch of shots and then not being set on defense. The energy and the shot making flipped at halftime. It’s a rough loss, as much as any early season one is.
Boston is better than I expected. To this point, they’ve been better than I thought they would be WITH Gordon Hayward. All of the kids are finding ways to contribute and don’t have obvious weaknesses to expose. Everyone is playing within themselves and playing as a unit. Brad Stevens is a very good coach with a deep and talented team.
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