The Oklahoma City Thunder snapped the Boston Celtics five game winning after overwhelming Boston with their depth and youth. The Celtics played a decent game for the first three quarters, but the fourth quarter told the whole story. Kevin Garnett was 5 for 19 from the field and couldn’t convert on the offensive end when Boston desperately needed it. It wasn’t just Garnett, the bench didn’t contribute much, only supplying 24 points in the game. The Celtics turned the ball over 18 times and right there is a telling sign that it just wasn’t Boston’s day. However, among all the negatives, there are some things that Boston did that should keep Celtics fans’ heads held relatively high.
What the Celtics did in the first three quarters worked to perfection. They ran the floor, kept moving the ball to look for the open player, and were wise with their shot selection. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that Boston went away from getting easy shots, and instead forced it on multiple occasions, leading to missed shots which resulted in easy buckets in transition for the Oklahoma City Thunder. For 36 minutes, the Celtics limited the Thunder’s fast break opportunities, forcing them to play in the half court offense. But a team that consists of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, along with a deep bench, the Thunder overpowered Boston’s defense on a few occasions. However, late in the fourth quarter Boston’s defense did stop Oklahoma City, but the lead was insurmountable.
A lot of credit goes to the Thunder for the terrific defense they played. Jeff Green, who has been playing great as of late, was trapped by the defense every time he received the ball. Some may say we saw a glimpse of the old Green, but actually he wasn’t given great looks, and he was taking it strong to the hoop but wasn’t drawing the fouls. In the first half, Boston was able to play their style of basketball, running the fast break and always looking to run in transition. But in the second half, the Thunder forced Boston to play the half court offense, which completely took them out of their rhythm. Not many teams have been able to slow down the Celtics in the last month or so, but the Thunder’s quickness, athleticism, and youth were too much.
Turnovers were an issue today as Boston forced way too many passes resulting in fast break points for Oklahoma City. Many were careless passes that shouldn’t have been made, and at times the Celtics overpassed, being too unselfish on possessions. When facing a team who is quick to the ball like the Thunder, if you get the shot you have to take it. Their defense was absolutely stifling and there really wasn’t much that Boston could do in the fourth quarter.
The decisive factor in today’s game was Boston’s inability to make shots down the stretch. The Celtics continued to give the ball to Garnett, who didn’t have it going offensively. No one else was making shots so it didn’t matter who they looked to. Looking back, it was just a tough game. The shots weren’t falling and Boston was getting to the hoop, they just couldn’t convert. No matter what the Celtics tried doing, the Thunder were right there to stop Boston from getting closer.
For Celtics fans, there is no need to panic or feel down after the loss. The Celtics played very well, and even though they weren’t able to do what they wanted all afternoon, it was encouraging to see them still fight and not pack it in. The upcoming week for Boston is not difficult as they face the Charlotte Bobcats twice, and take on the Toronto Raptors. Boston played well, but they cannot allow this loss to hang over their heads. This week is a good opportunity to get back on track before taking on another NBA powerhouse in the Miami Heat on March 18th.