Despite their currently depleted roster, the Oklahoma City Thunder -- who were without both Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook for the first time since the two became teammates back in 2009 -- managed to take care of the Celtics tonight at the TD Garden. The Cs played OKC tough throughout most of the game but were unable to prevent a few untimely runs that ultimately cost them the game. Here are a couple of key takeaways from tonight's festivities:
Sully can't catch a break
Remember when Jared Sullinger was struggling to play his best ball due to a nagging left hand injury? Well, as of late, that ailment hasn't appeared to be too much of an issue for the big man. However, while contesting a Serge Ibaka shot attempt early in the first quarter, Sully collided with the Thunder forward and subsequently injured his right hand upon impact. Sullinger immediately called timeout following the play and went over to the Celtics bench grimacing in severe pain. It was then that team athletic trainer Ed Lacerte decided to take Jared back to the locker room to further examine the injury. It turns out, Jared dislocated his right index finger (as reported by CSNNE's Abby Chin), and even though he returned to the game shortly after being treated, it will be interesting to see if the injury effects him moving forward.
Vintage Jeff Green
As everyone expected, Jeff Green swindled us once again. Green followed up his phenomenal 39 point performance in Washington with a more typical 16 point (7-17 FG; 1-8 3FG) outing. This is coming against a team that was without their best player in Kevin Durant. Had Durant been healthy enough to play tonight, who knows what kind of performance Jeff might have turned in? Don't get me wrong, Uncle Jeff got off to a pretty decent start right out of the gate but, as usual, faded into the background as the game progressed.
Rondo's improving ever so slightly
Although Rondo still has a ton of rust to shake off before he's back to being the player he once was, he certainly had his moments in tonight's game. The first came in the first quarter when he knocked down a three pointer in perfect rhythm. The next came in the fourth when he took the ball straight into the paint and weaved his way through traffic for an easy two points at the rim. The Celtics captain finished the night with five points, a season-high eight assists, and just three turnovers but, like I said, Rondo still has a long way to go before he completely returns to form. He has definitely been showing some promising signs, though, albeit in limited action.
The Thunder are really good...
Even without it's two stars, OKC was able to extend it's winning streak to six games. The team got big performances out of Serge Ibaka (21 points, 7 boards), Jeremy Lamb (19 points, 5 boards), Reggie Jackson (14 points, 8 assists), and Thabo Sefolosha (13 points, 6-6 FG). There was never any doubt that Scott Brooks has himself a very talented group of guys but that doesn't make the team's performance any less impressive.