Marcus Smart put on a shooting clinic on his way to a career-high 25 points Wednesday night, but he failed to best MVP candidate Russell Westbrook (game-high 36 points, 10 assists) in a hard-fought 122-118 road loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night.
The loss overshadowed a historic night by Smart, who set a franchise rookie record by making seven 3-point field goals with just 12 attempts from downtown. The 21-year-old also added 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals in a team-high 37 minutes.
The stellar performance by Boston’s top rookie helped the Celtics build a four-point halftime lead. That edge quickly dissipated however, in the third quarter as the Thunder exploded for 40 points in the frame. Westbrook scored 15 of his 36 points in the period, wreaking havoc a Celtics defense that was unable to slow down Oklahoma City’s uptempo attack.
Enes Kanter (22 points, 13 rebounds) and Steven Adams (14 points and 13 rebounds) also dominated the offensive glass all night for the Thunder. The pair of seven-footers grabbed 13 of the Thunder’s 18 offensive rebounds, leading to 21 second chance points. Boston also turned the ball over 20 times, the highest miscues by the team in a game since January 10th.
Brandon Bass and Kelly Olynyk each added 20 points for the Celtics, who saw their season-high five-game winning streak get snapped. Boston still managed to hold onto the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference for the time being, despite the setback. Indiana’s loss to Chicago created a two-way tie for the final playoff spot in the East and the Celtics currently holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Pacers (2-1).
The shorthanded Celtics face another tough test on the road against the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night.