|2014 NBA Playoffs Expert Picks: First Round||NBA First Round Predictions||Datsyuk’s Late Heroics Topple Bruins in Game 1||Celtics Go 1-1 in Draft Order Tiebreakers|
It wasn’t always pretty, but Boston managed to stay close enough for much of their game in Oklahoma City. However, the Thunder finally stifled the Celtics in the 4th quarter and pulled ahead for the 91-79 victory. The back-and-forth started early, with Boston taking an 8-4 lead (their biggest of the day) 2:40 in. However, OKC then scored 10 straight point, holding Boston scoreless for 3:23. With the series of rebounds and turnovers that followed, neither side could gain an edge. The chess match continued; OKC maintained their lead, but Boston kept them from pulling away, cutting the Thunder’s lead to 23-22 at the end of the 1st quarter.
The 2nd quarter began in much the same way, with the teams trading buckets to maintain a stalemate. It didn’t last two long, with a 2:51 scoreless stretch for the Celtics allowing the Thunder to score 10 straight points once again, allowing OKC to go up by 11. Boston then started eking their way back, but the Thunder kept pushing back just as much. This kept up until the final few minutes in the half, which saw the Thunder rebuild their lead to 11. A quick flurry by the Celtics pushed OKC’s lead down to five, and as the Thunder didn’t get a field goal in the last 3:13 of the half, only took a 50-45 lead into the break.
The Thunder lead was stable for much of the 3rd quarter, fluctuating between three and six points until the Thunder took an eight-point lead with 4:29 left in the frame. However, much like in the 2nd quarter, OKC was held without a field goal in the final 3:53 of the quarter. After OKC hit one free throw with 3:11 remaining, Boston scored six straight before the buzzer sounded and took a mere three-point deficit, 68-65, into the final quarter.
In the final quarter, things went pretty downhill for Boston. They were held without a point for the first 2:27 of the quarter, and only scored their first field goal 4:09 into the quarter on a tip-in. The Thunder quickly used the opportunity to push their lead back to double digits. Boston struggled to get anything going offensively, negating their work of limiting Kevin Duran to two points in the final quarter. In the end, the Celtics fizzled away, and the Thunder walked away with the 12-point victory.
Pierce led Boston in points (20) and assists (6). Brandon Bass and Kevin Garnett performed admirably in terms of rebounding, but didn’t do terribly much else.
Boston only scored 14 points in the final frame, not the best showing team-wide the Celtics have had.