It was far from easy, but the Boston Celtics brought their winning streak to seven games after beating the Oklahoma City Thunder, 126-122, at TD Garden on Monday night.
The Celtics move to 11-3 on the year, while the Thunder dropped to 6-8.
Check out the full box score here.
ONE BIG TAKEAWAY
The Celtics entered Monday’s matchup as winners of their previous six games and one of the favorites to lift the Larry O’Brien trophy at the end of the season. The Thunder entered as an organization actively looking to drop games in hopes of landing the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.
You wouldn’t know any of that by watching them face off with each other. This game had the look and feel of a playoff matchup.
The officials called a tight game throughout, seemingly stalling any momentum each team could build in the first three quarters. Sloppy fundamentals led to traveling violations, attempts to take charges that were not called and blown assignments that led to easy backdoor layups. Knowing the refs weren’t going to let anything slide, Boston still struggled to slow the pace on a young Oklahoma City squad.
Less than 24 hours after putting up 144 points in regulation against the New York Knicks, the Thunder put up 96 through the first three quarters on the Celtics and turned the game into a track meet. Despite that, Boston trailed by only seven points entering the fourth quarter.
Once the fourth quarter rolled around, the Celtics stopped fooling around and put things away. Boston tied the game by the time the clock ticked down to five minutes, forcing six OKC turnovers in the first six minutes of the stanza. The Thunder kept things interesting down the stretch, until Marcus Smart and Derrick White combined for three 3-pointers in the final two minutes to seal the deal for the Celtics.
STARS OF THE GAME
— Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is approaching superstar status in 2022. He had 37 points, eight assists, four rebounds, two steals and a block against Boston, just one day after dropping 37 at Madison Square Garden.
— Smart took over on the offensive end in the fourth quarter, going 4-for-4 from the field and scoring seven of the Celtics’ final 13 points. He finished with 22 points, five rebounds and eight assists.
— White was the best player on the floor for Boston, matching Oklahoma City’s tempo and forcing his teammates to get out and run. He finished with 16 points, four steals and a plus-21 rating.
DraftKings Sportsbook closed Jaylen Brown’s Points-Rebounds-Assists prop at 36.5. The All-NBA star finished with a total of 38. A $100 bet on the Over (+100) would have paid out $200.
The Celtics will hit the road for a week-long road trip, starting with a matchup against the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena on Wednesday. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.
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