On Friday night the Celtics matched up against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The team brought their three time scoring champion, Kevin Durant and old Celtic fan favorite Kendrick Perkins. The Celtics looked to battle to stay above .500 and did just that, finishing the week on a strong point with a win 108-100.
The team opened up strong in the first half shooting 52.4% from the field. Rajon Rondo was aggressive and found his teammates early tallying 9 assists in just the first half. Doc Rivers opened up with a starting line-up of Rajon Rondo, Jason Terry, Paul Pierce, Brandon Bass and Kevin Garnett. The team went into half leading the Thunder 48-45. This came at the buzzer as Rondo attacked the defense and kicked to Jason Terry who hit a three pointer as time expired.
Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green (8) dunks against Oklahoma City Thunder forward Nick Collison (4) and center Hasheem Thabeet (34) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Friday, Nov. 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Of the starters Rondo played the most minutes and finished 2-5 with 6 points, 16 assists, and 8 rebounds. The team was on fire from deep shooting 9 for 17 with Paul Pierce leading the way shooting 4-6 from distance. He finished with a team high 27 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals. Jason Terry was also hot from three point land shooting 4-6 for 16 points with the biggest coming in the final minute to seal the victory. KG played another solid game totaling 18 points and 9 rebounds.
The biggest difference in the game came from the Celtics bench which poured in 35 points compared to OKC's 13. The bench scoring was led by Jeff Green who made a statement against his former team and once again made some highlight plays. He finished with 17 points in 24 minutes and played well defensively against both Durant and Ibaka.
A loose rebound bounces away from Boston Celtics forwards Chris Wilcox (44) and Brandon Bass (30) as they vie under the boards with Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Friday, Nov. 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Even though the Celtics played well overall, OKC simply wouldn't go away in the game. The team trailed the entire second half and at one point fell behind by 14. Kevin Durant finished with a game high 29 points on 9-20 shooting. He was back by his typical partner in crime, Russell Westbrook who finished with 26 points, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds. And of course there was big Perk who finished with 5 points and 9 rebounds. It's always good seeing Perkins back in the Garden and he reminded us of how solid he plays defensively all night with one major block on KG. He even got out on the break leading the charge.
However, in the closing minutes of the game, after a Kevin Durant three pointer the lead was cut to only three points. What seemed like an easy win quickly turned into a nail bitter. This was largely due to the Celtics mild play in the closing minutes as they looked to use up the shot clock and score in the final seconds.
Luckily, the Celtics were able to bend but not break and successful closed out the game 108-100. The team plays again Sunday versus the Magic at 6:00pm EST.