If you want to see how far away the Thunder is from being a borderline playoff team, then watch when it plays teams like Houston, Utah, Miami and Chicago. If you want to see how far away the Thunder is from winning an NBA championship, take a gander at what transpired Friday night at the Ford Center. The 17-time world champion Boston Celtics put on a clinic, posting a 105-87 victory over a Thunder team that came in feeling pretty good about itself with a 10-8 record. The Thunder posed no threat, despite having a serious scheduling advantage. The Celtics were closing out a four-game road trip, playing on back-to-back nights and are in the midst of playing seven of eight games away from home. Meanwhile, the Thunder was in the fourth game of a five-game home stand during a remarkable stretch of spending 15 straight days at home. Friday’s game was never in doubt after the first six minutes. Boston led by as many as 24 points on five occasions. Good thing the Celtics were tired or this one would have gotten even more out of hand. "We know what it takes to be on the road," said Paul Pierce, who had 21 points, including 11 in the first 6:17 of the game. "We’re not new to this. We’ve been a pretty good road team in the past and we know that last game is a mental game, and that’s what we said — especially in a back-to-back — just getting over that mental hump. We had that mental mindset, ‘Hey, we’ve got to take care of business, whatever we’ve got to do to get the win.’ It was a great road trip.” The Celtics treated a sellout crowd of 18,203 to some quality basketball — a smooth offense (56.5 percent shooting from the field and 24 assists) complemented by an effective defense (a 40-30 rebounding advantage and 10 steals). It was an effort that even pleased their always-demanding coach. "It can still be better, but it’s our defense that’s allowing us to win," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "Our defense has to be great for us to be a great basketball team." Boston is one of the league’s premier teams defensively, but the Celtics also can be green velvet on offense. They have at least two future hall-of-famers in Kevin Garnett and Pierce and probably a third in Ray Allen. Unfortunately for the Thunder, it caught Boston at its best. "This is the best so far this year that our starters have played," Rivers said. "I just want to play well. I don’t care where it’s at." Things got plenty frustrating for the Thunder on Friday. Kevin Durant was slapped with the second technical foul of his career, which now spans 173 games. By comparison, Boston’s Rasheed Wallace has 304 career technicals. The Celtics are now 16-4 overall, 9-1 on the road and riding a seven-game winning streak. The players calmly took it all in stride afterward while feasting on a Ted’s Escondido spread inside their locker room. "That’s the key for us," Pierce said. "We understand it’s a process. It’s a long season. We don’t get excited, because it’s a seven-game winning streak. Now the whole goal for us is to continue to play and get better." An hour before tipoff, Rivers heaped praise upon Durant, and Rivers continued to do so again after watching Durant score a game-high 36 points, shooting 13 of 19 from the field and 9 for 9 from the free-throw line. Rivers predicts Durant will lead the league in scoring "very soon." He also thinks Durant will lead the Thunder into the playoffs "very soon." "You can see it coming," Rivers said. Perhaps it is coming, but it still looked a long way off on Friday night.