AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
Celtics guard Ray Allen puts up a shot against the Oklahoma City Thunder.OKLAHOMA CITY -- A trio of leftovers after the Boston Celtics defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder Sunday night at the Ford Center:
THE DAGGER: After the Thunder rallied within six in the fourth quarter, Glen Davis hit a pair of jumpers to quickly push the lead back to double digits. But the play Celtics coach Doc Rivers liked best came a short time later and essentially sealed Boston's victory. Hauling in an offensive rebound off a Nate Robinson miss, Davis keenly decided against going up in traffic and instead kicked the the ball back out to Ray Allen, who splashed a 3-pointers for an 88-71 advantage with just over seven minutes remaining, forcing Oklahoma City to call timeout as the game slipped away.
"One of the thing that I love that we’re finally doing is, on offensive rebounds in traffic, we’re kicking it back out," said Rivers. "That’s something we talk about a lot. I think it was Baby who got an offensive rebound and, last year he would have tried to fight the trees and go into traffic. [This time] he kicked it out and 3-point shooters are always open on offensive rebounds. That was a big play."
No charity from C's: The Celtics came into the game with a primary goal of keeping the free throw-happy Thunder off the charity stripe and, thanks in large part to quality offensive possessions and valuing the ball (maybe outside of the third quarter), they achieved that goal. Boston forced Oklahoma City to operate largely out of a halfcourt set and limited transition opportunities, which prevented them from racing to the rim and drawing fouls (keeping OKC off the offensive glass, beyond the third quarter, helped that cause as well). The Thunder settled for a mere 17 free throw attempts, nearly half the league-best 34.8 attempts they averaged per game entering Sunday's tilt.
See you again, soon: Being a Western Conference foe, Sunday was Boston's only visit to Oklahoma City this season, but the Thunder trek to Boston on Nov. 19. Celtics coach heaped praise all over Oklahoma City and thinks they'll it'll get its season on track sooner than later. But he wouldn't mind if that came after the second meeting.
"They’ll be fine," said Rivers. "Everybody is gunning for them right now. It’ll be an adjustment period, but they’ll be right back up there by the end of the year. They’re so talented, so well-coached. They’ll be fine. I’m glad we only see them twice."