Thunder 91, Celtics 79

Michael Kinney, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Kevin Durant scored 23 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as Oklahoma City beat Boston 91-79 Sunday at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Trailing by 14 with 2:45 left in the game, Boston tried to make one last run. Jason Terry drained consecutive 3-pointers to cut lead to 87-79 with 2:10 on the clock.
The Celtics (34-28) came up with another defensive stop and set Jeff Green up for a 3-pointer. But with a defender flying at him, his shot was off the mark.
The Thunder (47-16) got the rebound and Russell Westbrook ran the clock down to 37 seconds before feeding Serge Ibaka for an easy layup that pushed the deficit back to 10 and sealed a Thunder victory.
Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 20 points and six assists. Avery Bradley scored 12 points and handed out five assists while Kevin Garnett had a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Westbrook was held to 15 points and managed only two assists. Kevin Martin came off the bench to score 12 points.
The loss stops Boston's win streak at five games.
Durant got off to a strong start for the Thunder making three of his first five shots. But he picked up his second foul with 3:13 left in the period and had to go to the bench.
This gave the Celtics a chance to cut Oklahoma City's lead to one by the end of the first quarter.
Since coming to Oklahoma City right after the trade deadline, Derek Fisher had yet to find his shooting touch. However, he banged in a pair of 3-pointers in the second quarter to extend the Thunder's lead to 35-26 with 8:30 left in the half.
Even though Durant continued to get his shots, Bradley did a good job on Westbrook He was able to get physical and not let Westbrook use his supreme athletic prowess. He locked up the All-Star point guard for much of the afternoon.
The Celtics kept the game close and the Thunder took a 50-45 advantage into halftime.
Boston began to do what it does best in the third quarter. They turned the game into a slugfest and got Oklahoma City out of its normal tempo.
As the fouls began to mount, so did the Thunder's temper. Ibaka was assessed a technical while on the Oklahoma City bench after exchanging words with Garnett
The Celtics defensive intensity and rebounding allowed them to cut the Thunder's lead to 68-65 going into the fourth.
With the Thunder needing an adrenaline shot, Reggie Jackson and Nick Collison came off the bench and led Oklahoma City on an 11-2 run.
NOTES: Green returned to Oklahoma City for the first time since he was dealt to the Celtics along with Nenad Krstic and a first-round pick for Perkins and Nate Robinson at the trade deadline in 2011. But Thunder coach Scott Brooks has never lost touch with the former first-round pick. "We text throughout the year," Brooks said. "I'm glad he's back playing good basketball. He's a great young man." ... Despite tying an NBA record on March 5 with the fewest number of turnovers in a game, Oklahoma City still ranks 26th in the league in turnover percentage. ... Since being traded to the Celtics, Jordan Crawford has not been the explosive scorer many thought he would be. In his seven previous games, Crawford has scored in double figures twice and is averaging 5.6 points. ... Boston coach Doc Rivers said he has given up on trying to devise defensive schemes to stop Durant. He is relying on divine intervention. "You pray," Rivers said. "I'm serious. I don't know if there is a way besides attacking and being physical offensively. When you look at the Miami games, it's not that they guard him great. LeBron attacks him great." ... Hugo High's Trey Johnson, who has gained national attention for scoring the winning basket for the opposing team Friday during the Oklahoma state tournament, was a guest of the Thunder. He sat next to owner Aubrey McClendon.

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