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Oklahoma City at Boston

Durant scores 37, helps lead Thunder to victory in Boston

CBSSports.com wire reports
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BOSTON -- The young Oklahoma City Thunder needed to beat only two more teams to reach their goal: victories against every club in their two seasons since moving from Seattle.

And not just any ordinary teams.

Western Conference
SeedTeamGB
1o-Dallas-
2x-Denver-
3x-Golden State-
4x-Houston-
5y-L.A. Clippers-
6x-L.A. Lakers-
7x-Memphis-
8o-Minnesota-
Still alive
10z-Oklahoma City-
14y-San Antonio-
Eliminated
9o-New Orleans-
11o-Phoenix-
12o-Portland-
13o-Sacramento-
15o-Utah-
Complete Playoff Race

On Wednesday night, the Thunder completed the feat by edging the 2008 NBA champion Boston Celtics 109-104. Only five days earlier they beat the other, the Los Angeles Lakers -- the defending NBA champions.

"We've grown up," said Kevin Durant, who scored 37 points and hit all 15 of his free throws against Boston. "It means a lot for us. It gives us confidence."

Durant and Jeff Green, who hit two big 3-pointers in the last two minutes, were rookies in the final season in Seattle. Point guard Russell Westbrook, who had 21 points and 10 assists, joined them last season, and guard James Harden, who is averaging 9.9 points per game, is contributing as a rookie.

And now they've beaten the past two champs in a six-day span.

"Going into the week that was our battle cry," coach Scott Brooks said, "and both in the same week."

Boston is among the NBA's oldest teams. The Celtics' starting five has an average age of 29.6, while the average for Oklahoma City's starters is 23.2.

The Thunder won their 46th game, doubling their total from last season, and remained in sixth place in the Western Conference.

Boston was led by Kevin Garnett and Rasheed Wallace with 18 points each and fell out of a third-place tie in the East with the Atlanta Hawks, who beat the Lakers 109-92.

Both teams played very well offensively, and Garnett said the free-throw discrepancy might have been the difference. The Thunder outscored the Celtics 28-13 at the line, even though Boston was whistled for just four more fouls than Oklahoma City.

Garnett was particularly concerned about Durant's 15 free throws.

"I thought we were playing Michael [expletive] Jordan the way he was getting the whistle," Garnett said. "Durant damn near shot more free throws than our whole team."

Boston went 13 for 17 from the line.

"I missed three last night in Philly" in a 111-93 Thunder victory against the Philadelphia 76ers, Durant said. "I was a little upset with myself."

Green, whose draft rights were traded by the Celtics when they picked up Ray Allen from Seattle after the 2006-07 season, gave the Thunder a 105-101 lead with a 3-pointer with 1:56 to go. Then he connected again with 1:22 left for a 108-104 advantage to finish with 17 points.

"It's just me staying with my rhythm," Green said. "Nenad [Krstic] set some great screens on [Garnett]."

The Celtics were having one of their best shooting nights of the season and Wallace had made both his 3-point attempts. But then he missed with 1:11 to play, keeping the Thunder's lead at 108-104. Four more misses followed -- a jumper by Durant, a layup by Boston's Paul Pierce, a 3-pointer by Westbrook, and a jumper by Allen with 9.1 seconds to play.

Thabo Sefolosha finished the scoring with a free throw with 6.9 seconds remaining.

The Celtics lost even though they made 59.5 percent of their shots.

"It's a tough one to swallow. A team shoots 34 free throws to our 17 on our home floor," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "I thought we were attacking and we just didn't get to the line."

Despite the loss, it was quite a change from the Celtics' last game, a 94-73 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night in which Boston lost by its biggest margin and scored its fewest points of the season.

"The game the other night we played so bad. It happens," Rivers said. "It's tough when you play well and lose."

On Wednesday, the Celtics led 61-57 after a tight first half in which the lead changed hands 16 times. The margin was only four points despite one of their best offensive quarters of the season. In the second period, the Celtics hit 17 of 20 shots (85 percent) and tied their season high for a quarter with 38 points.

Boston made its first two shots of the third quarter, boosting its marksmanship to 29 of 40, a 72.5 percent clip, but couldn't pull away.

Notes

  • Durant scored at least 30 points for the 40th time in 74 games.
  • Boston C Kendrick Perkins returned after missing two games with tendinitis in his left knee.
  • Pierce had 15 points in 37 minutes after aggravating a "stinger" in his right shoulder during practice Tuesday.
  • The Thunder capitalized on nine Celtics turnovers to score 10 of their 30 points in the first quarter.
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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Kevin Durant has a decent outing from the field and a perfect one from the line to boost OKC.  (US Presswire)
Kevin Durant has a decent outing from the field and a perfect one from the line to boost OKC. (US Presswire)

Scoreboard
Oklahoma City (46-28) «30272626109
Boston (47-27) 23382221104
OKC:K. Durant 37 Pts
OKC:K. Durant 8 Reb
OKC:R. Westbrook 10 Ast
BOS:R. Wallace 18 Pts
BOS:K. Garnett 9 Reb
BOS:R. Rondo 11 Ast
Players of the Game
BostonOklahoma City

R. Rondo

K. Durant
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
165113782
Oklahoma City
K. Durant, SF4410-2015-1582037
J. Green, PF397-140-041117
N. Krstic, C352-72-48036
R. Westbrook, PG339-173-3310021
T. Sefolosha, SF223-51-22227
J. Harden, SG261-23-43335
E. Maynor, PG153-42-20418
N. Collison, PF132-42-44066
S. Ibaka, PF131-20-04052
E. Thomas, CDid Not Play
B. Mullens, CDid Not Play
K. Ollie, PGDid Not Play
K. Weaver, SGDid Not Play
D. White, PFDid Not Play
M. Shakur, PGDid Not Play
Totals 38-7528-34362221109
 50.7%82.4% 
Boston
P. Pierce, SF375-104-566515
R. Rondo, PG368-120-0511416
R. Allen, SG336-121-112313
K. Garnett, PF319-130-094118
K. Perkins, C222-42-26036
R. Wallace, PF267-82-411318
G. Davis, PF173-64-520010
M. Daniels, SG151-20-01132
N. Robinson, PG121-50-00432
M. Finley, SF112-20-01104
B. Scalabrine, CDid Not Play
T. Allen, SGDid Not Play
M. Landry, PFDid Not Play
S. Williams, PFDid Not Play
Totals 44-7413-17323025104
 59.5%76.5% 
Other Games
LAL 92 Final
Atl 109
Mil 98 Final
Cle 101
LAC 92 Final
Tor 114
Phi 84 Final
Char 103
Mia 98 Final
Det 81
Pho 116 Final
NJ 105
Wash 96 Final
NO 91
Sac 99 Final
Min 108
Dal 106 Final
Mem 102
Hou 102 Final
SA 119
NY 90 Final
Port 118
GS 104 Final
Utah 128