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. As a team, the Celtics had 18 turnovers and shot only 37 percent from the field.
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.
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 Celtic’s 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.
“Going into this game we knew it was going to be a physical game,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “The way Boston plays, they play hard, tough, physical defensive-minded basketball. We did a good job of matching that toughness.”
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