This could possibly be the worst news the Thunder fanatic could receive. Kevin Durant is currently listed as day-to-day with a right shoulder sprain. This, coupled with Russell Westbrook’s right knee rehab, could be the dagger in the Thunder’s heart over this stretch of games. The Thunder have never had to play without their top two leading scorers before last night. Although, if last night was any indicator, the Thunder should be able to hold their own, despite the setback.
Last night’s first half was close pretty much the entire way. There were a total of five ties and six lead changes. The Celtics largest lead throughout the half was 5. Even the Thunder failed to push their lead past double-digits, with their largest lead being 9.
The second half was a different story, particularly the 3rd quarter. Less than 2 minutes into the 3rd, with the score 55-51 in the Thunder’s favor, they sparked an unreal 22-4 run to establish a 22-point lead (77-55) with 3:31 left in the quarter. The Celtics managed a grand total of 13 points in the 3rd quarter, and could not pull closer than 14 points back at any point in the 4th. Once all was said and done, the Thunder completed a 101-83 victory that pushes their record to 35-10, while dropping the Celtics to 15-30. This marks the Thunder’s 6th straight victory, while the Celtics have now dropped 16 of their last 19 games. Needless to say, it hasn’t been a good season for them thus far.
Although NBA.com’s notes say that the Thunder are tied for first place in the Western Conference, I don’t see who they’d be tied with. Seeing as the Blazers have only won once since their match-up with the Thunder, and the Spurs haven’t played since their loss to the Thunder, my math has the Spurs 1.5 games back, while the Blazers are 3.5 games back. Hell, the standings section of NBA.com has yet to count last night’s Thunder victory, and manages to put the difference between 34-10 and 32-11 at 1.5 games. I’ve gone as far as to shoot the NBA a direct e-mail concerning their website.
A lot of players stepped up to fill the absences. Serge Ibaka’s 21 points led all scorers. Reggie Jackson pitched in 14 points, while Thabo Sefolosha dropped 13. Perry Jones threw down 10 points in his first-ever start, while Jeremy Lamb contributed 19 points from the Thunder bench.
A few Celtics players had decent performances. Jeff Green’s 16 points led the Celtics, while Gerald Wallace dropped 13 more. Plus, Brandon Bass threw down 11 from the Celtics bench.
Tonight is the final game of their “4 games in 5 nights” stretch, as this one comes to us from Wells Fargo Center, as the Thunder gear up to play the 76ers for the first time this season. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 CST, and will be broadcast via Fox Sports Oklahoma, WWLS The Sports Animal, and NBA League Pass.