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OKC Thunder: Thabo Sefolosha, Russell Westbrook 3s lead way past Celtics

Sefolosha, Westbrook 3-pointers squelch Boston comeback hopes. Kevin Durant scored 28 points as the Thunder wins a seventh straight game.
by Darnell Mayberry Modified: January 16, 2012 at 9:55 pm •  Published: January 16, 2012
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BOSTON — Thabo Sefolosha caught the ball on the left wing with nine seconds showing on the shot clock. His Oklahoma City Thunder teammates, needing to nurse a tenuous seven-point lead in the final minute, had just spent the previous 15 seconds scrambling to milk every millisecond possible.

But when Sefolosha hauled in a bullet pass from Kevin Durant on a drive and kick, he immediately let it fly. It probably wasn't the greatest decision. It didn't matter.

Dagger.

Sefolosha's surprising 3-pointer with 24 seconds left to play put the Thunder ahead by 10 and sealed Oklahoma City's 97-88 victory over Boston on Monday night inside TD Garden.

“I caught it, and I had an open look,” Sefolosha explained. “I had confidence in that shot. I felt like if I let it go it would go in and it did. I didn't even think about it, really.”

When you're hot, you're hot.

And Oklahoma City, these days, is scorching.

The win was the Thunder's seventh straight, bumping OKC's league-best record to 12-2. And nothing illustrated how good things happen to a team that's rolling quite like Sefolosha's hoist.

Need we remind anyone that Sefolosha is a career 31.4 percent shooter who just came off a career-worst 27.5 percent accuracy rate from beyond the arc?

But when the game was in the balance, Sefolosha squeezed the trigger with sureness in himself.

“Thabo's just a winner,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “The guy just makes winning basketball plays for us all the time. We don't ask for a lot of scoring out of him, but he made big shots…He made shots all game long.”

When Sefolosha's dagger dropped through the net, it capped a barrage of long-range bombs by the Thunder that extended the Celtics' current misery of a five-game skid. Oklahoma City hit five 3-pointers in the final five minutes. The Thunder walked into the final frame having missed nine of 11 3-point tries. Three more clanged off the rim early in the fourth.

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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