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Russell Westbrook hit a pair of key three-pointers in the game’s final two minutes, part of a 26-point night that lifted the Oklahoma City Thunder over the Boston Celtics, 97-88. Kevin Durant added clutch moments of his own, and leading everyone with 28.
The TD Banknorth Garden crowd gave Perkins a standing ovation when his named was announced in the starting lineups. Celtics’ coach Doc Rivers gave Perkins a big embrace before he took the court for the opening tip. Perkins spent his first eight seasons in the NBA with the Celtics.
The Celtic’s trailed by seven at the half. Five minutes into the third quarter, the Celtics tied the game at 57 following a pair of O’Neal layups. The Thunder increased their lead to 10 before the Celtics cut the lead to two on a Pierce three-pointer with five and a half minutes remaining. The hot fourth quarter shooting of Durant, Westbrook and Thabo Sefolosha was too much for the Celtics to handle, however, as the trio shot 5-for-6 from downtown in the game’s final five minutes.
Mickael Pietrus had his best game as a Celtic, recording 14 points on 5-for-9 shooting. Pietrus scored 12 points in the 4th quarter including three clutch three-pointers when the team needed a lift on offense. Rajon Rondo had 12 points, missing his second triple-double of the season by just an assist and a rebound.
The Celtics had an encouraging game on the glass, out rebounding the Thunder 48-40. The Celtics also recorded 15 offensive boards, but turnovers that killed Boston Monday night as the Thunder scored 24 points off 19 Celtics’ turnovers.
The Celtics have now lost five in a row for the first time since acquiring Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen in the summer of 2007.
Hopefully a struggling Toronto team will be the cure to the Celtics’ losing woes, as they host the Raptors Wednesday evening.