Sunday, January 5, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Thunder 119, Celtics 96
By Brian Robb
Rapid reaction after the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Boston Celtics 119-96 Sunday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena:
THE NITTY GRITTY
Reggie Jackson had a career-high 27 points and Kevin Durant flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 21 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists, as the host Thunder handed the Celtics their fourth straight loss. Jeff Green and Avery Bradley each finished with a team-high 19 points, but it wasn’t enough to keep pace with the Thunder's superior offensive firepower. Boston played without Courtney Lee, who is expected to be dealt to the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday and did not dress. Even without Lee, the Celtics had a nice bounce-back game on the offensive end, hitting 11-of-23 attempts from 3-point range, though they couldn’t keep up with an explosive Thunder offense that scored efficiently (51.8 percent from the field) all night long. The Celtics now have dropped seven of their last eight games.
The Celtics remained within striking distance for most of the first half, but things took a turn for the worse after intermission. A 10-0 run by Oklahoma City midway through the third quarter opened up a 21-point lead for the hosts. The Celtics kept fighting but couldn't get closer than 14 points the rest of the way.
NO LEE MEANS MINUTES FOR BOGANS
Lee's absence paved the way for some minutes for reserve guard Keith Bogans, who saw his first action since Nov. 30 against Milwaukee. He also made his first field goal of the season, a 3-pointer at the top of the key off a dish from Phil Pressey. Bogans finished with three points, two assists and a rebound in a season-high 14 minutes.
JACKSON’S CAREER NIGHT A BITTERSWEET REMINDER
Jackson had a career night while filling in as starting point guard for an injured Russell Westbrook. The 23-year-old hit 9-of-12 field goal attempts, including all three attempts from 3-point range, to lead all scorers with 27 points. Boston’s front office was a big fan of Jackson, the former Boston College star, before the 2011 NBA draft. Unfortunately for the Celtics, Thunder GM Sam Presti selected Jackson with the 24th pick in the draft, one slot before Boston's turn. That night, the Celtics ended up trading for JaJuan Johnson, who is out of the league.
Green left the game toward the end of the third quarter after being shaken up in a collision with Nick Collison. After lying on the floor for a few minutes, Green walked off under his own power. He returned in the fourth quarter. ... The Thunder's Kendrick Perkins had a nice performance with a season-high 12 points against his former team's undersized frontline. ... Jared Sullinger had another rough shooting night, going 3-of-11 from the field before fouling out in 19 minutes. ... Vitor Faverani saw seven minutes of action, all coming in garbage time during the fourth quarter.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics (13-21) opened their five-game Western Conference road trip with an expected loss and are now 0-3 in 2014. After a day off Monday, the Celtics will need to regroup quickly as they face two sets of back-to-back games over the final five days of the week. With visits to Los Angeles (Clippers), Golden State and Portland on the docket, it will be challenging for the Celtics to end their three-game losing streak anytime soon.