BROOKS SHORTENS BENCH IN LOSS TO BOSTON
Thunder coach Scott Brooks sounded apologetic that he shortened his bench during Friday night's 108-100 loss to the Boston Celtics at TD Garden.
Given the overall lack of effectiveness from OKC reserves, however, Brooks appeared to have no other choice.
Against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night, the Thunder bench scored 38 points and shot a combined 14 for 24 (. 583) from the field.
On Friday night against the Celtics, OKC reserves converted just 5 of 17 (. 294) from the floor and were outscored 35-13 by the Boston bench.
Brooks did play sixth man Kevin Martin for 31:42, but he responded by converting just 1 for 7 from the field and also had three turnovers. Eric Maynor shot just 1 for 5 and was 0 for 4 from 3-point range. Nick Collison performed well with eight points and four rebounds, but only played 17:46.
In plus-minus numbers, center Hasheem Thabeet was minus-15 in just 6:47. Martin also was minus-15 and Maynor was minus-11.
“You know, K-Mart didn't play well, but they didn't get a lot of opportunities, either,” Brooks said of his bench players. “I shortened up the bench, but when we got down big I felt we needed some scoring and put Kevin (Durant) at the 4, so I took Nick out and Eric didn't play much and Thabeet didn't play much.”
Thunder forward Serge Ibaka continues to rise with his overall play and finished with 17 points, 13 rebounds and two blocked shots Friday.
“Serge, as well all know, is improving right in front of our eyes,” Brooks said. “He was good both ends of the floor and that's what we need.”
Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, who finished with six points, eight rebounds and 16 assists, extended his double-digit assists streak to 36 games with his 10th assist in the first minute of the third quarter. Only Magic Johnson (46) and John Stockton (37) have longer streaks.
Former Celtics center Kendrick Perkins was announced last in pregame introductions and received a loud ovation. That immediately was replaced by groans and boos when he scored five points in the first 7½ minutes. … Former Heritage Hall standout Wes Welker was on hand and cheering for the Thunder. … OKC plays at Philadelphia at 6 p.m. Saturday.
During Wednesday night's game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Durant fired a hard pass to the left wing that was deflected out of bounds and struck a woman seated in the front row in the forehead.
A concerned Durant went over and kissed her forehead.
“She was an older lady and she was sitting in the front row and I beaned her with that ball, for sure,” Durant said Friday. “That was one of my harder passes right there. It was unfortunate that she got hit with the ball. I had to make sure she was OK.”
Shortly thereafter, the woman nearly got hit by another ball deflected out of bounds.
“Yeah, I know,” Durant said with a smile.
Was it another pass from Durant?
“Yeah,” Durant admitted. “Maybe I need to just give up the ball and let somebody else handle it. I'm glad she's all right.”
Brooks on how his team will respond Saturday night at Philadelphia after Friday's loss at Boston: “That's the good thing about this team, we forget quick.”