Posted on March 21, 2018, by Travis Pulver
The odds were certainly against the Boston Celtics heading into Tuesday night’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Once again, they would be short-handed and would be taking on a red-hot Thunder team riding a six-game winning streak. Winning seemed like an unlikely outcome.
However, while the Thunder often plays up to their competition, they have often struggled in games that look like they should be easy wins.
Neither team looked exceptionally well in the first quarter. The Celtics were sloppy (four turnovers) and struggled to make shots (7-for-21). The Thunder were not much better shooting a dismal 36 percent from the floor. But a 16-5 run late in the quarter helped them take an early lead, 26-18.
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Boston was able to battle its way back into the game in the second quarter. The Celtics even took a brief lead, 41-40, with three minutes to go. But they were unable to hold it, and the Thunder led at the break, 48-45.
The third quarter was a back-and-forth affair with both teams holding the lead at some point. As the quarter began to wind down, the Thunder were up 75-66. A quick 7-0 run by the Celtics trimmed the Thunder’s lead to two entering the fourth quarter.
Throughout the final quarter, the game remained close, but with just 24.7 seconds left and the Thunder up by six-points, 98-92, it didn’t look good for the Celtics. The sequence of events that followed were simply awesome:
- Jayson Tatum pulled the Celtics within four, 98-94, with 17.6 seconds to play.
- Russell Westbrook was immediately fouled but missed one of his two free throws (99-94).
- Terry Rozier hits a three-pointer to pull the Celtics within two, 99-97.
- Marcus Morris fouled Carmelo Anthony who missed both free throws.
- Tatum pulled down the rebound, the Celtics called timeout, and on the ensuing play, Tatum finds Morris on the wing. He hit the go-ahead three-pointer with 1.8 seconds on the clock.
- Final score—Boston 100 Oklahoma City 99.
“Probably my biggest (shot),” Morris said after the game (Ledger-Enquirer). “I’ve hit a couple to tie it up. But was my first actual to win it.”
Paul George gave credit where it was due after the game (ESPN): “It was a tough shot. We live with him taking that shot. He made it. Kudos to him for making big shots.”
Morris ended up finishing the night with 21 points, but it was Tatum that led the team in scoring with 23. Terry Rozier added 14, and Greg Monroe had 17 off the bench.
Russell Westbrooks triple-double streak finally came to an end. While he led the Thunder with 27 points, he only had eight rebounds and seven assists. Paul George had a double-double with 24 points and 13 rebounds. Carmelo Anthony chipped in 13.
The Celtics are happy to get the win, of course, but they are more concerned about getting their superstars back for the playoffs at this point. According to several news reports Tuesday, Kyrie Irving is going to be seeking out a second opinion on his sore knee. Marcus Smart is confident he’ll be able to return for the playoffs. Jaylen Brown is said to be “close” to making a return.
Boston will have another tough one on their hands Friday night when they travel to Portland to take on the Trail Blazers. Oklahoma City will try to get back on the right side of the scoreboard when they take on the Miami Heat (also Friday night).