After two losses and a very tough win, the Oklahoma City Thunder needed something easy to feel at home. Luckily for them, they had the Boston Celtics as their rivals and not someone a bit tougher, giving Kevin Durant a chance to play in a bit more relaxed manner while Reggie Jackson was having one of his good days.
The Thunder comfortably won 119-96, as Jackson, who has been the epitome of inconsistency since finding himself in the lineup instead of Russell Westbrook, led the way with 27 points. Jackson scored 19 of his points in the first half, as the Thunder started pulling away from the Celtics before finishing the job thanks to all of the turnovers during the second half.
Kevin Durant scored 21 points, adding 7 rebounds and 8 assists. He only played for 27 minutes and probably needed some rest after his impressive performance in the dramatic win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, which got a bit lucky thanks to Kevin Love missing free throws but might also cost Durant himself some money for flopping while guarded by Corey Brewer.
We just want to come in here and focus every time, especially after an emotional win last night. On the back-to-back, it might have been easy for us to relax, but I think we did a good job of playing hard. It’s just important that we just play a 48-minute game. I thought we had good moments on the games that we lost, but it wasn’t consistent throughout the game and the other teams got hot down the stretch and we couldn’t stop it. But we didn’t go into the game and say, ‘Guys, we’ve got to win tonight because we’ve lost three out of our last four at home.’ We went into the game, ‘Guys, we want to keep playing our style of basketball.’
The Thunder had no problem dominating the small line of bigs the Celtics used (Brandon Bass, Jarred Sullinger) as Serge Ibaka scored 17 points and even Kendrick Perkins had 12, finishing with 5-of-9 from the field while playing against his former team.
The Celtics looked sloppy, especially late in the game, finishing with 15 turnovers, allowing the Thunder to score 50 points in the paint and 17 on fast break opportunities. Jeff Green and Avery Bradley both shot well from the field and led with 19 points, but the Celtics as a team hit only 43.8% of their field goal attempts.
The Boston Celtics might be in the Eastern conference race out of default, but they don’t look anything like a team that deserves to be in the playoffs. Head coach Brad Stevens treats everything as a learning experience, trying to make it seem like there were some good parts to lean on.
I thought our ball movement in the first half was really good. That dried up in the second, and we didn’t help each other on defense very often. One of the things we’ve got to do as a group is when things don’t go well, we’ve got to collect ourselves quicker and make things go in our favor again. When things are going well, we’re not bad, but when things don’t go well, we haven’t responded well lately.