Good, Bad, Ugly: Celtics Thunder-clapped

Good, Bad, Ugly: Celtics Thunder-clapped
January 24, 2014, 11:30 pm
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BOSTON — The Boston Celtics were making shot after shot after shot in the first quarter which is a good thing.

But there was a problem: so where the Oklahoma City Thunder.

And as the game wore on, Boston's inability to set any kind of defensive tone would ultimately be their undoing as the Kevin Durant-less Oklahoma City Thunder pulled away for a convincing 101-83 win.

Durant did not play due to a right shoulder injury.

With our without Durant, the Thunder are a good team which is a point they proved emphatically on Friday night.

Although the Celtics (15-30) made it easier by relying too much on their shot-making to be successful.

"It was fool's gold at that point," said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. "You could kind of see it. Unless we changed ... we didn't change."

Boston had a one-point lead after the first quarter, but the Thunder pulled ahead to lead 50-46 at the half. The third quarter is when Oklahoma City pulled ahead by as many as 21 points and built up a lead that was far too difficult a hole for the Celtics to climb their way out of successfully.

The second-half shooting lull that the Celtics went into (they shot just 34 percent in the second half) certainly hurt, as did the 22 points they gave up on turnovers and the 48-36 advantage the Thunder had on points in the paint.

Gerald Wallace, one of the more unfiltered voices you hear when it comes to describing the factors contributing to wins and losses for Boston, said the Thunder, "came out in the second half, competed, took it to us and it was kind of like we just laid down."

And with that, here's the Good, the Bad and the Ugly from another Celtics loss.

The Good

Rajon Rondo

His numbers weren't exceptional, but there was no doubt that he looked and played more like the Rajon Rondo than he had in his three previous starts this season. Rondo finished with five points and eight assists while playing 22 minutes.

The Bad

Dealing with Thunder's X-factors

With Kevin Durant (shoulder) out, you knew Oklahoma City's scoring load would be spread out more liberally. And the Celtics, well aware of this, did a poor job of adapting. Former UConn star Jeremy Lamb, a 9.8 points per game scorer this season, had 19 off the bench.

"We didn't play Lamb well enough the whole night," said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. "He's a really, really good basketball player and we just let him get going."

In fact, of the 12 players used by the Thunder on Friday, only three (Steven Adams, Royal Ivey and Hasheem Thabeet) scored below their season average.

The Ugly

Terrible third quarter

Boston had its share of rough stretches on Friday, but none loomed any larger than the third quarter when they shot a woeful 5-for-20 from the field which allowed the Thunder to pull away for a commanding 77-59 lead going into the fourth. The other three quarters were relatively close which has become an all-too common occurrence for the Celtics this season.

"We've had one quarter in the middle (of games) that's hurt us at times," Stevens said. "And that quarter in the middle killed us today."