By the end of the first half, you were wondering what exactly was going on. The Thunder’s squad was loaded. The only person missing was Kevin Durant and he was watching from the bench. Still, the Celtics — whose entire NBA experience amounts to Oliver Lafayette’s one game — were blowing them off the floor.
Luke Harangody was putting on a shooting clinic, Lafayette was pushing the ball in James Harden’s chest, and the summer Celtics ran up their lead as high as 21 points, taking a 47-32 lead into the half.
Then everything slowly fell apart. They turned the ball over nine times in the second half, shot 12 of 32 from the floor, 1 of 9 from 3-point range, and ended up losing, 87-82.
Byron Mullens put up a game-high 24 points (22 in the second half) padded by 12 free throws. Harangody dropped 23 on 9 of 13 shooting and a stunning 4 of 6 shooting from 3-point range.
But in the end the script sounded like a lot like something you heard in the regular season. Summer coach Austin Ainge sounded eerily similar to Celtics coach Doc Rivers, who was in the front row.
“In the fourth quarter they got all the loose balls, all the long tipped rebounds and we needed to come up with those to win,” Ainge said. “The game came to a lull and we need to get out in transition. We can’t beat this team in a half-court game. They have too much talent, too much size and we couldn’t get the stops to run.”
HARANGODY FIRES AWAY
So the word was that Harangody’s outside shot had improved in the past two years, but no one was expecting him to snap from long-distance tonight. He knocked down 25 3s in 30 games last season.
Lafayette summed it up pretty well when asked if he expected Harangody to shoot it as well as he did.
“I really didn’t,” Lafayette said. “I didn’t know he was that good of a shooter. Coming in I was like he’s a good low post player, nice little mid range. But I didn’t know he could shoot the ball like that. He kind of surprised me in practice. I was like I know I can go to him when I need a bucket.”