Share “OKC Thunder beats Boston without Kevin Durant”

OKC Thunder beats Boston without Kevin Durant

BY ANTHONY SLATER, Staff Writer, aslater@opubco.com Published: January 24, 2014
Advertisement

photo - Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins, center, is sandwiched between Boston Celtics center Jared Sullinger (7) and forward Gerald Wallace on a drive to the basket during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Friday, Jan. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins, center, is sandwiched between Boston Celtics center Jared Sullinger (7) and forward Gerald Wallace on a drive to the basket during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Friday, Jan. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

— No Kevin Durant. No Russell Westbrook. No problem.

For the first time in Thunder history — 437 regular season games stretching back six years — the team played without both its cornerstone stars on Friday night in Boston.

But it made little difference on the scoreboard.

Four Thunder players scored in double-figures, three more added at least six points, and a depleted Oklahoma City roster, missing a combined 52.3 points and 12.1 assists from the injured Durant and Westbrook, dominated the struggling Celtics 101-83.

It was Boston’s worst home loss since March 2010.

“Going into the game,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said, “I knew we were going to accept the challenge.”

Accepted and easily completed, with contributions from everywhere.

And it starts with Serge Ibaka and Reggie Jackson, the pair expected to shoulder the biggest offensive load during the All-Star absence.

In only 28 minutes, Ibaka finished with 21 points and seven rebounds, showing an ability to get his own shot and thrive as an offensive centerpiece, at least for one night.

And Jackson, after struggling during an out of control first half, took over in the third quarter.

In the game’s most crucial 12-minute stretch, Jackson had nine of his 14 points and three of his eight assists. The Thunder outscored the Celtics 27-13. Jackson was responsible for 15 of OKC’s points.

“Reggie had a better second half, came out and was aggressive,” Brooks said. “Did a better job understanding what they were doing defensively.”

And he wasn’t alone.

Continue reading this story on the...