clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Celtics can't hold an early lead against short-handed Thunder

New, comments

Despite Rajon Rondo once again flirting with a triple-double, the Celtics couldn't hold a 15 point lead against the Thunder. Oklahoma City upsets Boston 109-94.

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

When the schedule was first released, many Celtics fans probably penciled this one in as a loss against one of the elite teams from the Western Conference, but expectations were much higher knowing that the Oklahoma City Thunder would be without their star duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Yet the Celtics couldn't hang on to an early lead against the short-handed Thunder.

Boston got off to a quick start with an 18-3 run to open the game, looking like they were going to run away with this one early with their hot shooting and dominance on the boards. Oklahoma City didn't even record their first rebound until we were more than halfway through the opening quarter and Boston cleaned the glass with a 15-5 edge in the quarter.

The Thunder switched to a zone defense in the second quarter, which disrupted the Celtics offense just enough to allow their opponent to chip away at the lead. Boston tried to counter the zone by launching a barrage of three-pointers, with 33 of their 83 field goal attempts coming from beyond the arc. That's nearly 40% of their shots coming from deep, but they only managed to hit 9 of them (27.3%).

Reggie Jackson burst through in the third quarter, scoring 14 of his game high 28 points in the third quarter. The fourth year guard has done a phenomenal job filling in as the team's top scoring option in the absence of their superstars, averaging 22.8 points through six games this season.

Anthony Morrow also added 28 points, scoring 19 in the final frame. He was 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, as the Celtics too often missed rotations that left Morrow wide open.

Rajon Rondo led the way for Boston in his return from the court after missing one game following a procedure to remove screws from his surgically repaired hand (insert mandatory joke about Rondo having a few screws loose). The Celtics star point guard once again flirted with a triple-double with a team high 20 points to go along with 12 assists and 9 rebounds. He entered the fourth quarter just a rebound shy of recording the triple-double, but couldn't come up with that one extra board.

The Thunder were undermanned due to a slew of injuries and were playing the second night of a back-to-back, yet their bench still managed to outscore Boston's 50-15, which became one of the biggest keys to Oklahoma City's comeback.

Despite the early 15 point lead, Boston could not hang on to move above .500 for the first time since their season opening win over the Brooklyn Nets. They'll try to get their record back to being even again when they take on the revamped Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday.