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I think it’s finally safe to say that Kevin Garnett is officially back. I mean, he’s been playing for the whole season of course, but we may be seeing what we saw from KG pre-knee-injury, which is a scary development for the rest of the Eastern Conference and NBA.
Garnett led the team with 23 points on 10/11 shooting as the Celtics had seven players in double figures in a dominant 105-87 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Thunder star Kevin Durant finished with a game-high 36 points, but the effort was wasted as the rest of his team could only muster 51 points.
Seven Celtics players attempted at least seven shots in the game, and all finished with 10 or more points. Four starters finished with 11 shot attempts, including KG, Paul Pierce (6-11, 21 points, eight rebounds), Ray Allen (4-11, 11 points), and Rajon Rondo, who finished with 15 points (7-11), six assists, and four steals. To round out the starters (I might as well at this point), Kendrick Perkins finished with 13 points, eight rebounds, and a blocked shot.
Off the bench, the Celtics were helped by Rasheed Wallace, who showed remarkable restraint. ‘Sheed attempted just two three-pointers all game, and made both of his looks. In all, he finished with 10 points and three rebounds. Eddie House went 3-5 from deep, tallying 11 points, three boards, and two steals.
Durant was possibly the best player on the floor (as he is almost every night), finished with the 36 points on 13-19 from the field. He finished 1-4 from deep and a perfect 9-9 from the FT line, and added five rebounds and two steals. Durant got some help from Russel Westbrook (15 points, four assists), but no other Thunder player finished in double figures, the closest being Mike Wilks (whoever the hell that is), who finished with seven points.
Durant, normally a well-mannered player, picked up only his second career techincal foul, and was mostly frustrated with the Celtics and their yapping.
“They just talk. That’s one thing we don’t try to do is just talk,” Durant said. “They’re a physical team. Give them that. They’re a great team. But they do a lot of talk on the floor, which I think that’s kind of false toughness. They get in some teams’ head. I don’t think they did it to us.”
The Celtics won in almost every facet of the contest, shooting a higher percentage (56.5% – 47.1%), grabbing more rebounds (40-30), dishing out more assists (24-11), and finishing with more three-pointers (9-3).
The Thunder, though, have a really good young core and should be a dangerous team for years to come. Kevin Durant speaks for itself, but the team also has Russel Westbrook, former Celtic-for-a-minute Jeff Green, Thabo Sefolosha, and James Harden and could surprise and make a run at a playoff spot this year.
The Celtics, meanwhile, have won seven games in a row, including a 4-0 road trip. The win against OK City gave the C’s a 3-3 record on Fridays (they are 13-1 on the six other days). The C’s next take their act home against the Bucks on Tuesday night, before embarking on another road trip.