NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, January 5th (All times Eastern)
Boston Celtics (13-20) at Oklahoma City Thunder (26-7), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Oklahoma City Thunder ended a two-game losing streak and will now try to build some momentum Sunday night as they host the Boston Celtics.
The Thunder lost to the Portland Trail Blazers and Brooklyn Nets in consecutive home losses, but atoned for the setbacks with a 115-111 road victory Saturday over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Kevin Durant highlighted his 48-point night by hitting the go-ahead jumper with 4.0 seconds left that lifted the Thunder to the come-from-behind victory over the Timberwolves.
With the game tied at 111-111, Durant dribbled off a screen and knocked through an 18-footer with the Timberwolves' Dante Cunningham in his face, with the basket enabling the Thunder to overcome a 13-point deficit with under 11 minutes left.
Minnesota had a chance for the win when Kevin Love was fouled by Kendrick Perkins on a 3-point attempt with 2.2 seconds remaining, but missed the first two foul shots before an intentional miss failed to hit the rim.
Durant poured in a remarkable 23 points in the final period to nearly single- handedly lead Oklahoma City back in its eighth consecutive triumph on the road.
"There are many reasons why I love our guys. They play with a high competitive spirit. They understand that it is about the team and they don't like to lose," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks.
Serge Ibaka, Derek Fisher, Reggie Jackson and rookie Steven Adams all scored double figures for the Thunder.
The Celtics embark on a three-game road trip the losers of three in a row and six of their last seven. Boston has dropped three straight on the road, a place the Celtics have only been four times since Dec. 1.
On Friday, the C's couldn't handle Anthony Davis late and fell at home to the New Orleans Pelicans, 95-92.
It marked an odd day for the Celtics. They had to stay in Chicago Thursday night following a defeat in the Windy City because of the winter storm that pelted the Boston area.
"It's frustrating, three one-point losses in the last three weeks. So that's a hard thing to swallow, but at the same time it's not like they're laying down," said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. "They're coming out and competing and tonight they had every excuse in the book if they wanted to use it, and they didn't. They played again. I'm disappointed we couldn't get the win, but I'm proud of the way they played."
Avery Bradley recorded 22 points in the loss, while Brandon Bass and Jared Sullinger both had double-doubles in defeat, with Bass compiling 16 points and 11 rebounds and Sullinger posting 13 points and 11 boards.
Jeff Green finished with 16 points and Jordan Crawford handed out 11 assists.
The Celtics will visit the Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors and Portland Trail Blazers on this odyssey.
The Thunder won five of their last seven against the Celtics and two straight at home in this series.
01/05 10:40:19 ET