(SportsNetwork.com) - Two teams battling for their playoff lives duke it out Wednesday night when the Boston Celtics visit Chesapeake Energy Arena to face the Oklahoma City Thunder.
OKC is tied for the eighth spot in the Western Conference with the New Orleans Pelicans. The Celtics, Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat are tied for the seventh spot in the east.
The Thunder were dealt a serious blow in their bid for the postseason. The team announced forward Serge Ibaka will miss 4-6 weeks after knee surgery. A low-end timetable would mean the Thunder would get Ibaka back for the playoffs.
Of course, Oklahoma City has been without reigning MVP Kevin Durant for weeks due to a foot injury. He's at least a week away from returning.
Thank goodness for Russell Westbrook.
The MVP candidate and All-Star Game MVP has been dominant keeping the Thunder in the mix for the eighth seed. He couldn't do enough on Monday as the Thunder fell in Big D, 119-115.
Westbrook finished with 24 points and 12 assists before fouling out. He fell two rebounds shy of his seventh triple-double in 10 games and committed seven of the team's 21 turnovers.
Enes Kanter donated 19 points and 13 rebounds, while Mitch McGary totaled 12 and 13 for a frontcourt that was missing Ibaka but won the rebounding battle 59-37.
OKC had Dallas down 15 in the second half, but couldn't close.
After Westbrook hit a fadeaway to even things at 108-108 down the stretch, Tyson Chandler grabbed a big offensive rebound and was fouled. The career 64.6 percent free throw shooter made both at the line with 1:32 remaining, then denied a putback by Kanter on the defensive end.
Parsons drove inside for a quick bucket, and after being whistled for a charge, Westbrook committed his sixth foul on the ensuing inbounds pass.
Dallas went 5-of-6 from the foul line over the final 31.3 seconds to seal the win.
The Thunder begin a four-game homestand with the Atlanta Hawks, Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers in town.
The C's are the hottest team in the league with five consecutive victories. They'll face as stiff a two-game road trip a team could find with a stop in San Antonio on Friday.
Boston's winning streak reached five with a 108-89 drubbing of the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday in Beantown.
Seven Celtics scored in double figures as Boston started fast and rolled to victory.
Avery Bradley filled the box score with 20 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, while Tyler Zeller scored a career-high 26 points in Boston's push to the postseason.
"We've found a group that's really connected and playing well," Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said. "I knew that we were on the right track."
The Celtics made two-thirds of their field goal attempts (16-of-24) in the opening quarter and led by as many as 22. Zeller and Bradley both scored 10 points in the frame, which ended with the hosts holding a healthy 38-18 lead.
Despite slowing down in the second, Boston went ahead by a game-high 27 points. Boston led 89-68 entering the fourth and stayed comfortably ahead the rest of the way.
The Thunder have won four straight and seven of their last eight against the Celtics. OKC has taken three in a row as the host.