The Thunder held a 77-69 lead after three quarters and overcame a horrid 2-for-18 shooting performance in the fourth to seal the win. OKC's last made field goal came on an Eric Maynor jumper with 9:28 left to play. But in the final six minutes, the Thunder compensated for its suddenly cold shooting touch by coming up with hustle plays in the form of three takeaways, which included one charge by Royal Ivey, and two huge offensive rebounds by Thabo Sefolosha and Serge Ibaka that extended possessions and helped milk the clock.
Over that same span, the Thunder iced the game by sinking six of six free throws, while the Celtics misfired on four critical freebies.
After the game, Rivers and at least two of his players made reference to a lack of reverence for the Thunder and the game.
â€œI think we underestimated that team,â€ said Celtics center Shaquille O'Neal. â€œShot ourselves in the foot. It's kind of hard in this league to get up for certain people. Tonight, we disrespected the basketball gods. We paid for it.â€