BOSTON The Boston Celtics played the Oklahoma City Thunder tougher - a lot tougher - than most anticipated.
But in the end, it was the Thunder making all the big shots and getting the big stops defensively that sent the sinking C's to yet another disappointing defeat, 97-88. Kevin Durant led all scorers with 28 points, in addition to grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out three assists.
Boston (4-8) has now lost five straight, the kind of losing skid we haven't seen around these parts during the Big Three era.
After a long jumper by Mickael Pietrus cut Oklahoma City's lead to 83-80, the Thunder connected on back-to-back 3-pointers, the last of which came from Russell Westbrook with 1:31 to play that gave Oklahoma City an 89-82 lead.
Pietrus struck with a 3-pointer, his third of the night, only to have Westbrook deliver a 3-point dagger of his own that pushed the Thunder's lead back to seven points.
Paul Pierce put together one of his best games of the season, finishing with 24 points on 8-of-15 shooting. And Jermaine O'Neal, who has struggled mightily all season with his shot, tallied his first double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Even as the C's continued to battle, there never seemed a point in the game when the Thunder's control of the game seemed in doubt. In many ways, it seemed as if the Thunder were toying with them, seemingly allowing the C's to get close without any fear that their chances at winning was in doubt.
Appearing on The Vertical Podcast with Chris Mannix, Brad Stevens said that Isaiah Thomas’ hip will be evaluated by the Celtics in September before the team decides how to proceed.
The C’s were unsure of whether Thomas would require surgery on his right hip, which ended his postseason early. He has gone the offseason without surgery, so the C’s will look at it next month.
“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September when he arrives back here out east, and from there we will know an exact timeline," Stevens said. "Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.
Added Stevens: “We want what’s best for Isaiah. We want to make sure that when he is ready to roll, which hopefully is sooner rather than later, that he is ready to roll at his highest level and for the longest possible time, obviously, right? So that’s a lot more important to me than anything else.”
Stevens said that the uncertainty of not knowing whether Thomas would need surgery was challenging, but that his priority was the player.
“I don’t know if it was unnerving because you can only control what you can control, but it’s a big deal for me because it’s a big deal to him,” he said. “Ultimately, obviously you want to go into every season 110 percent healthy and we’ll find out where we stand with everybody, but more so you want what’s best for him.”
Anthony Scaramucci isn't afraid to say stuff. This time, it involves the Patriots.
The outspoken former White House communications director follows over 180,000 Twitter accounts. One of them is @rslashpatriots, who asked about Robert Kraft's Super Bowl rings via direct message.
Putin famously stole Kraft's Super Bowl XXXIX ring while Kraft was visiting Russia in 2005. According to Kraft, he took out the ring to show it to Putin, but Putin put it in his pocket and left without giving it back.
Now that Trump has Kraft's ring, Kraft theoretically only has three of a possible five Super Bowl rings now. Guessing he could get new ones made.