Without Durant, Westbrook leads Thunder over CelticsNov 20, 2010 - 4:47 AM
With Durant inactive due to an ankle injury suffered Wednesday, Westbrook took over by shooting 11-of-13 from the free throw line for the Thunder, who have won three straight and five of six overall. It's also the second straight win in Boston for Oklahoma City, which sent the Celtics to their first home loss (5-1).
"Everybody stepped up and that's kind of how I have to be," Westbrook said about playing without the reigning league scoring champion. "When guys are down, other guys have to come in and be ready to play. We just did it all defensively and that's what it's going to take for us to win a game. Sometimes we aren't going to be able to make shots. We just have to defend."
Serge Ibaka added 13 points for the Thunder, while James Harden, who started for the first time in his career in place of Durant, scored 12 in the win.
Rajon Rondo totaled 14 points and a season-low seven assists for the Celtics, who had a three-game win streak snapped. Rondo had dished out 10 or more assists in nine straight games and hadn't recorded fewer than nine all season. He sustained a left hamstring injury in the fourth quarter and sat out the final 4 1/2 minutes of the game.
Kevin Garnett had 16 points, while Paul Pierce contributed 14 in defeat.
Pierce's layup brought Boston to within 68-65 with four minutes left in the third, but Oklahoma City finished the quarter on a 9-4 surge.
Harden answered with a couple free throws, and Westbrook's 20-footer after two failed Celtics possessions made it 72-65. A Royal Ivey three-pointer inside the final minute had the Thunder up by 10, but Delonte West's layup for Boston in the closing seconds sent the game into the fourth with Oklahoma City leading, 77-69.
The Thunder maintained their distance from the Celtics until a pair of Garnett free throws pulled Boston within four, 83-79, with 4:44 left. As Oklahoma City went without a field goal for more than nine minutes, Glen Davis made it a three-point game, 85-82, on a free throw with 1:38 to go.
After Westbrook missed a layup and couldn't bounce the rebound off a Boston player to send the ball out of bounds, West hit two free throws for a one- point game with 1:16 to go.
Westbrook was off the mark on another deep jumper -- Oklahoma City's 13th straight miss from the field -- Ray Allen missed a potential go-ahead shot for Boston.
Westbrook was sent to the line with 13.4 ticks left and drained both to extend the Thunder lead to 87-84. West had a wide-open three at the other end in the corner, but hit the front end of the rim, and Harden drilled two free throws with 3.9 seconds left to seal the outcome.
"We just didn't come with the right mindset from the start," Pierce said. "I think we kind of eased into the game, and then once we got into it, we were trying to claw our way back in. That's what happens when you have a team who's desperate without two of their best players. You give the other guys confidence and you can get surprised any given day in the NBA."
The Thunder got out to a 25-23 lead after the first quarter and extended the advantage to 49-46 at halftime.
The Thunder are 4-1 on the road...Oklahoma City forward Jeff Green (ankle) missed his third straight game and sixth out of seven contests...Boston's Shaquille O'Neal finished with 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting...The teams split the season series after Boston beat Oklahoma City earlier in the month.
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 89
Nov 19 9:49 PM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 77
End of Regulation
Nov 19 9:01 PM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 49
Nov 19 8:09 PM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 25
Nov 19 7:37 PM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 0
1st Quarter - 15:00
Nov 19 7:10 PM
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