Thunder set for matinee affair versus Celtics
It appears it will be a three-team race for the NBA's top record and the Oklahoma City Thunder are right in the mix.
The Thunder are battling both Miami and San Antonio for the league's best mark and are back home Sunday for a matinee affair versus the Boston Celtics.
Oklahoma City just got by the New York Knicks and crushed the Charlotte Bobcats on its brief road trip. In Friday's 116-94 victory over the Bobcats, Kevin Durant compiled 19 points, seven assists and six rebounds, while Russell Westbrook scored just 11 points for the Thunder, who have won four in a row and 11 of the last 15 games.
Derek Fisher led the reserves with 13 points and Kevin Martin netted 11 off the bench in the win. OKC had a 36-21 advantage in the second quarter.
"I thought defensively the second quarter was really good," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "The second unit did a good job."
Brooks' squad made 56.8 percent of its shots and sank 12-of-24 3-pointers. Fisher, Martin and Thabo Sefolosha, who scored 13 points, all made a trio of shots from beyond the arc.
Oklahoma City, which is 1 1/2 games behind the Spurs for the West's top seed, will try to extend its home winning streak to five games and has won the last four by an average margin of 27.0 ppg.
Meanwhile, the Celtics have been playing well over the past month or so and currently reside in the East's sixth spot.
The Celtics grabbed the upper hand on the Atlanta Hawks with Friday's 107-102 overtime triumph at TD Garden. Jason Terry hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 35 seconds left in the extra session, helping the Celtics erase an early four- point hole in overtime. Terry scored the team's last five points of the game.
Boston had a 12-point lead midway through the fourth quarter until the Hawks staged a furious rally, going on an 18-6 burst to make it 92-92. The game was tight from there until Boston posted a 13-8 advantage in overtime.
Paul Pierce finished with a team-high 27 points to go with seven rebounds and a team-best seven assists, while Terry recorded 19 points and five assists off of the bench. Kevin Garnett scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds for Boston, which has ripped off five straight wins and 14 in 18 tries.
"We're working hard, we're grinding. We're showing our character," Garnett said. "We're going out, working hard and earning everything we're getting."
The Celtics will play two in a row on the road against the Thunder and Charlotte Bobcats, and have won three straight away from Beantown. They are 12-18 as the guest this season.
Boston defeated Oklahoma City in the first meeting back on Nov. 23 in a 108-100 home decision. The Thunder had a three-game winning streak in this series come to an end, but have still won four of the last six meetings.