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Final: Thunder 91, Celtics 79

Posted by Baxter Holmes, Globe Staff  March 10, 2013 12:20 PM

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Thunder opened the fourth quarter with an 11-2 run and never looked back, handing the Celtics a 91-79 loss while snapping Boston’s five-game winning streak. Paul Pierce carried the Celtics as best he could, with 20 points. Kevin Garnett had 10 points and 11 rebounds, but struggled from the floor, shooting 5 of 19 Kevin Durant scored 23 points and Russell Westbrook added 15. The Celtics shot 51.8 percent (19 for 37) in the first half, but 25 percent (10 for 40) in the second.

Fourth quarter, 3:13, Thunder 87-73: The Celtics cannot buy a bucket. They made 19 of their 37 shots in the first half but have made 8 of 36 in the second. Barring a barrage of long-distance shots, this one is over.

Fourth quarter, 6:41, Thunder 79-70: The Thunder opened the quarter with an 11-2 run that gave them some breathing room. The Celtics have played well defensively, but Kevin Garnett has come up short on offense, missing 13 of 18 from the floor. He still has 10 points and 11 rebounds.

End of the third quarter: Thunder 68-65 See below note about how it's impressive that the Celtics are in this, and add in the fact that they're rebounding and hustle in the paint has been key. The Celtics are out-rebounding the Thunder, 33-25, and have grabbed 6 offensive rebounds while the Thunder have grabbed one. Paul Pierce has four fouls, but the Celtics will need him down the stretch.

Third quarter, 2:42, Thunder 68-60: That the Celtics are still in this game despite 19 turnovers and being outscored by 16 points at the free-throw line is pretty impressive. Paul Pierce is carrying Boston with 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting, but he's the only Celtic in double figures. Boston's bench has been terrible, combining to shoot 4 of 15. Kevin Durant has 21 points and has hit all 11 of his free throws.

Third quarter, 8:04, Thunder 57-51: Some nice back-and-forth action here. Serge Ibaka hit a corner 3-pointer to open the second half for the Thunder and Paul Pierce buried one from long distance on the Celtics ensuing possession. Ibaka was later tagged for a technical foul from the bench for verbal taunting, an official said. Kevin Durant had a nice driving dunk on Brandon Bass. The Celtics are playing a bit more physical and with more urgency here early.

Halftime: Thunder 50-45:While Kevin Durant was sinking a pair of free throws, the 18th and 19th attempts so far for the Celtics, Doc Rivers walked to the scorer's table, smiled and said, “I don’t think that foul strategy is working too well.” The Thunder have made 19 of 21 from the free-throw line while the Celtics have made just 4-of-7. Paul Pierce has a team-high 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting, Avery Bradley has 9 points and Kevin Garnett and Courtney Lee each have 8. Kevin Durant has a game-high 16 points. The Celtics have a better field goal percentage (51 percent to 40 percent) than the Thunder, but, again, the free throws.

Second quarter, 2:42, Thunder 46-37:And in the free throws category, the Thunder have made 15 of 17 while the Celtics have made 3 of 5. In the turnovers category, the Thunder have 4, which have resulted in 3 Celtics points, while the Celtics have 12, which have resulted in 13 Thunder points. I know I'm throwing a lot of numbers at you there, but those are the key stats that tell the difference in this game.

Second quarter, 5:18, Thunder 40-33: Paul Pierce is going into takeover-mode. He's calling for the ball on every possession and has scored three straight buckets for the Celtics. He has 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting. Still, the Thunder have more firepower and have been converting without too much struggle. Kevin Durant has a game-high 14 points.

Second quarter, 7:13, Thunder 37-29: Paul Pierce hit a 3-pointer to stop a 10-0 Thunder run and end a Celtics scoring drought. Kevin Durant crossed up Kevin Garnett something fierce before burying a mid-range jumper, as if we needed any further proof that Durant is elite. When Pierce made his triple, the Celtics had excellent ball movement for the first time in a while. Can they keep it up?

Second quarter, 8:47, Thunder 35-26: A Derek Fisher 3-pointer from the left corner capped an 8-0 Thunder run. The Celtics called timeout to regroup. Oklahoma City is starting to run and gun, especially with Durant back in the game. The Celtics have been struggling on offense, missing three straight shots.

Second quarter, 9:43, Thunder 30-26: Kevin Garnett made a couple of shots down low to keep the Celtics in it. He has 8 points. Derek Fisher hit an impressive bank shot while being fouled. Kevin Durant just checked back into the game.

End of the first quarter, Thunder 23-22: Despite having 9 turnovers, the Celtics have kept it close with key stops. The Thunder are shooting just 7 for 21 and struggled to find offense after Kevin Durant checked out of the game when he picked up his second foul. Jeff Green has four points off the bench for the Celtics and Jordan Crawford hit his first jumper after checking in. The Celtics have made 9 of their 18 shots.

First quarter, 2:49, Thunder 21-18: The Celtics have six turnovers, way too many against a speedy team like the Thunder. Kevin Durant had a game-high 10 points, but he exited the game after picking up his second foul. Paul Pierce has scored four straight. Jason Terry checked into the game and was booed, a sign these fans haven't forgotten that he played with their rival, Dallas. Jeff Green, making his first return to Oklahoma City since he was traded to Boston in 2011, entered the game to cheers.

First quarter, 6:11, Thunder 14-8: Doc Rivers calls a timeout to stop the bleeding after a 10-0 run by the Thunder. Kevin Durant is starting to heat up. He has 6 points and has made his last two shots. The Celtics have as many field goals as turnovers: four. And the Thunder have scored six points off those turnovers.

First quarter, 8:24, Celtics 8-6: The Celtics made their first four shots, two by Garnett, to jump out on top. Kevin Durant, being guarded by Paul Pierce, missed his first two shots. We're in the early going, so the teams are just feeling each other out.

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