“Paul's one of the more crafty guys that you will play in this league,” Brooks said. “You don't think he can get around you, but he gets around you. You don't think he can get the shot off, but he gets it off. He just has a knack for making the right play.”
OKC also got little help from its bench players, who were outscored 35-13 by the Boston reserves.
That's why Brooks started Durant at the outset of the fourth quarter and he responded with 14 of his game-high 29 points to give the Thunder one last gasp of hope.
Westbrook re-entered for the final 9:51, which might have been a little too late. Westbrook scored eight points, two assists and two steals in that span. He finished with 26 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and two steals, but also five turnovers.
Pierce led Boston with 27 points. Garnett had 18 points and nine rebounds. Rajon Rondo had 16 assists, eight rebounds, six points and two steals.
Former Thunder forward Jeff Green, who was traded to the Celtics for Kendrick Perkins on Feb. 24, 2011, finished with 17 points off the bench.
“I love him,” Brooks said of Green, whom he personally coached as an assistant during the 2007-08 season in Seattle. “It was good to see. I was hoping he would have it against Orlando on Sunday and not tonight, but he played extremely well.”
Those inside the Thunder locker room were disappointed afterward, but not overly so, and there was a reason why.
“The best thing about this league is we've got a game tomorrow,” Durant said of the Thunder's 6 p.m. contest at Philadelphia on Saturday.