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Oklahoma City at Boston

Venue: TD Garden
  •  

The Boston Celtics are unhappy with their defense, and now will try to slow down the league's reigning scoring champ.

Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder will be in search of a fourth straight win Friday night when they visit the Celtics.

Boston (6-6) led the NBA in defensive field-goal percentage last season at 41.9, but that type of defense is a distant memory now. The Celtics rank 27th in that department in 2012-13 at 46.3 percent, allowing San Antonio to shoot 58.4 percent in Wednesday's 112-100 loss.

The Celtics allowed an opponent to score over 100 points for the second straight game, including a 103-83 defeat to lowly Detroit on Sunday.

"We just have to learn, continue to learn and build," forward Paul Pierce said. "We've given up 100 points the last couple of games. That's definitely not our identity."

Now the Celtics will face Durant, who is second in the NBA with 25.4 points per game and put up a pair of 28-point efforts last season to help Oklahoma City (9-3) sweep Boston.

The Thunder superstar is heating up with a season-high 35-point performance in Wednesday's 117-111 overtime win over the Clippers. He had a league season-best 21 free-throw attempts.

"I think early on, me driving and me getting into the paint, I was a little hesitant in the second half because I was turning the ball over," Durant said. "But I just tried to keep going. My teammates told me to just keep being aggressive, and that's what I tried to do."

Coach Scott Brooks was happy that his team limited Los Angeles to 45.6 percent shooting. The Thunder are fifth in the league in that category at 42.8.

"That's what we talk about every game, keeping it in the low 40s and we did that tonight," Brooks said.

Oklahoma City's defense features an imposing frontcourt that includes former Celtics center Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka. Off the bench, newcomer Hasheem Thabeet may be contributing more soon.

Thabeet, a bust since being the No. 2 overall pick by Memphis in 2009, had 10 points and four boards Wednesday.

"I think Hasheem is the player of the game just the way he plays," Durant said. "His energy, in that second unit, his intensity, rolling to the basket he causes so much attention."

Boston's Rajon Rondo had 22 points and 15 assists Wednesday, but could not contain Spurs point guard Tony Parker (26 points).

"The best thing about the league is you don't have to wait a week to play another game," said Rondo, who leads the NBA with 13.3 assists per game. "After Thanksgiving, we'll get back and try to get focused with Oklahoma City."

Rondo has gone 35 straight games with at least 10 assists and faces another tough point guard matchup against Russell Westbrook, who had 23 points and nine assists Wednesday when he was facing Chris Paul.

Westbrook averaged 28.5 points against the Celtics last season, with Rondo missing one of the games due to suspension.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Game Odds
AwayLineHomeLine
Oklahoma City -3 Boston 3
Standings
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Oklahoma City1st Northwest 5823.71606-4Lost 2
Boston4th Atlantic 2556.309232-8Lost 1

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Injuries
Oklahoma City
PlayerInjury
T SefoloshaCalf
Boston
PlayerInjury
K HumphriesKnee
 
Key Players
Kevin<br>Durant
Kevin
Durant
, SF
39.4 Min. Per Game 33.5 Paul<br>Pierce
Paul
Pierce
, SF
25.4 Pts. Per Game 19.2
4.7 Ast. Per Game 2.9
10.1 Reb. Per Game 5.5
49.8 Field Goal % 41.7
44.7 Three Point % 38.9
88.9 Free Throw % 85.3
 
Team Rankings
TeamRankPoints
Oklahoma City Thunder189.56
Boston Celtics1972.90
 
Series Game Log
DateLocationResults
Dec 21BostonWAS 106-99
Jan 22 @ WashingtonBOS 113-111
Apr 2 @ WashingtonWAS 118-92
Apr 16Boston 
 
Other Games
Cle 104 Final
Orl 108
Atl 101 Final
Char 91
Tor 90 Final
Det 91
LAC 76 Final
Brook 86
NY 103 Final
Hou 131
SA 104 Final
Ind 97
LAL 98 Final
Mem 106
GS 91 Final
Den 102
NO 108 Final
Pho 111
Sac 102 Final
Utah 104
Min 95 Final
Port 103