Thunder top Celtics for 7th straight winJan 17, 2012 - 5:15 AM Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Kevin Durant scored 28 points and Russell Westbrook added 26, including two clutch three-pointers in the final minutes that helped the Thunder earn a 97-88 victory over the Celtics.
Thabo Sefolosha provided 12 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter for Oklahoma City, which won its seventh consecutive game and improved to a league-leading 12-2.
Thunder center Kendrick Perkins played at TD Garden for the first time since the Celtics traded him to Oklahoma City last February. He finished with seven points and five rebounds in just under than 28 minutes.
Paul Pierce scored 24 points to lead the Celtics, who have dropped five in a row for their longest losing streak since the 2006-07 season.
"From every win you can take some positives and from losses you can take some positives," Pierce said. "I think I like where we are headed, there are just little things that are really killing us; the (19) turnovers, obviously. If we can just clean that up, if we can keep teams out of transition and control that a little bit better, we'll be great."
Though they trailed by 10 several minutes into the fourth quarter, the Celtics battled back, scoring seven consecutive points to close within 74-71. The Celtics were within 78-76 with 5:22 left, when Pierce followed Kevin Garnett's layup with a three-pointer.
The Celtics stayed close heading down the stretch, but never caught up because of a barrage of three-pointers by the Thunder.
Westbrook drilled a long-range shot with 1:31 left to make it 89-82, and Mickael Pietrus countered with a trey at the other end. But Westbrook struck again, pulling up for one at the top of the arc with 51.1 seconds to go.
After Garnett was whistled for an offensive fouled, Sefolosha secured the victory by knocking down a shot from beyond the arc.
While the Thunder's late-game shooting success ensured the outcome, it wasn't entirely responsible for Boston's loss. The Celtics were playing from behind for most of the game after Oklahoma took control early.
Durant and Westbrook both made two buckets during an 8-0 run that turned a two-point deficit into a 17-11 Thunder lead with 3:40 left in the first quarter.
They carried a 25-17 lead into the second and didn't trail again.
It was the same story throughout the entire game -- Boston got close, and Oklahoma City pulled away again.
"They digged themselves a hole and I think from the start we were locked in on both ends," Durant said. "The offense could use some more work, but I think we did a good job with being aggressive."
Just past the midway point of the second quarter, baskets from Jermaine O'Neal and Rajon Rondo had the Celtics within 34-31. But the Thunder scored the next six, and led 46-39 at the break.
Boston actually pulled even with five minutes left in the third quarter, after layups by O'Neal on consecutive possessions made it 57-57.
But Perkins came back to haunt his old team, converting a three-point play at the other end to spark a 6-0 burst. The Thunder scored the final seven points of the frame to establish a 72-62 advantage.
Oklahoma City scored 24 points off 19 Celtics turnovers...Garnett finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds. O'Neal had 12 and 11 in the setback, while Rondo ended with 12 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. Pietrus had 14 points off the bench...The teams split two meetings last season.
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 97
Jan 16 10:25 PM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 72
End of 3rd
Jan 16 9:48 PM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 46
Jan 16 9:05 PM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 25
End of 1st
Jan 16 8:27 PM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 0
1st Quarter - 12:00
Jan 16 8:02 PM
- Warriors-Thunder Preview May 23
- Draymond, Westbrook swap barbs over fouls, kicks May 23
- Warriors' Green could face discipline after flagrant foul May 23
- Durant, Westbrook lead Thunder in blowout win over Warriors May 23
- Mark Cuban tells 'Meet The Press' Thunder are his title pick May 22
- Warriors-Thunder Preview May 21
- Warriors' big men must come up big in Game 3 against Thunder May 21
- Donovan, Kerr took very different paths to NBA coaching May 21
- Thunder will try to bounce back after big loss to Warriors May 20
- Column: Savor our version of Magic-Bird - Curry vs LeBron May 20
- Stephen Curry's sore right elbow not limiting him on court May 20
- Klay Thompson has carried Warriors this postseason May 19