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HomeBasketballCeltics beat Thunder 135-100, clinch high seed within the playoffs

Celtics beat Thunder 135-100, clinch high seed within the playoffs


Wednesday evening’s contest between two of the highest groups within the NBA wasn’t precisely a good struggle.

The Celtics boasted a completely wholesome roster — minus Jaden Springer — whereas the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder had been with out MVP candidate Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and their second-best scorer, Jalen Williams. This was additionally the second evening of a tricky back-to-back for OKC; their shorthanded squad fell sufferer to a fourth-quarter comeback in Philadelphia towards Joel Embiid and the 76ers final evening.

Kristaps Porzingis started working immediately on this one, highlighting the notable measurement benefit Boston held over their opponents. Stated benefit clearly deterred Oklahoma Metropolis from attacking the paint initially, as a majority of their first few possessions got here up empty.

Jaylen Brown is usually Mr. First Quarter, however this time it was Jayson Tatum who attacked early and sometimes, getting a few simple buckets on the rim in transition.

Tatum checked out and the second unit struggled to take care of the momentum Boston had constructed. A mini Josh Giddey run and a number of turnovers from Brown gave Oklahoma Metropolis a short lead, earlier than Boston’s high choice returned to the sport and instantly hit a triple.

Payton Pritchard has grow to be fairly the constant contributor as of late, and that development continued Wednesday evening. The guard sparked a run to offer Boston a 30-23 lead on the finish of the primary, racking up three assists and a bucket.

Porzingis and Tatum led the best way within the scoring division, combining for half of Boston’s first-quarter factors, whereas Horford gave his squad an early increase off the bench with six.

An absence of effectivity actually stood out for the Thunder, who hit simply 36.4% of their pictures within the first 12 minutes, together with going 1-10 from past the arc.

The Celtics’ protection swarmed Oklahoma Metropolis to open the second, racking up a pair of steals and blocks over the primary three minutes. The scale disparity as soon as once more stood out right here, as Boston’s size constantly disrupted the passing lanes.

Porzingis made his presence recognized on either side of the ground, taking part in a component in that defensive manufacturing earlier than postering Chet Holmgren and Aaron Wiggins on a putback dunk.

Kristaps was solely getting began, as he hit a myriad of powerful pictures to bump his factors complete to 17 on the half.

Protection and the three-point taking pictures disparity continued to be the story of the tape, as Boston led 61-47 on the break. The Celtics racked up seven blocks and hit as many threes, in comparison with Oklahoma Metropolis’s measly two connections from long-range on 15 makes an attempt. Ball motion additionally popped off the web page for the Cs, as they doubled OKC’s assists after 24 minutes.

Giddey continued to get to his spots at the beginning of the second half, discovering constant success driving downhill. On the opposite facet of the ball, Boston obtained sloppy, turning it over on frequent event whereas permitting the Thunder to assault the rim with out resistance. Fairly abruptly, that 14-point lead had been lower in half, forcing Joe Mazzulla to name a timeout. Brown particularly was struggling greater than his teammates, racking up 4 early turnovers.

Mazzulla opted to take a seat Jaylen following these points, giving Pritchard early third-quarter minutes. A few fast buckets between Horford and Tatum re-established the offensive fluidity, however the Thunder continued to hold round. Foul hassle performed a big function in that, as OKC hit the bonus with over 5 minutes left within the third and boasted a considerable free throw benefit over the Cs.

Tatum picked up his scoring within the latter half of the penultimate quarter, as he and Porzingis mixed for 47 as Boston led 93-83 with 12 minutes to go.

Jaylen bounced again from his earlier struggles with a powerful seven factors to open the fourth. The famous person proceeded to play lockdown protection on Cason Wallace, forcing a turnover earlier than organising Jrue Vacation for the open three. After a tricky first three quarters, it was encouraging to see Brown end sturdy.

Because it seems, Brown waking up was all of the Celtics wanted to place this recreation on ice. In non-Tatum minutes, the remainder of Boston’s core completely dominated the Thunder with a 20-3 run earlier than Mark Daigneault lastly gave in and known as one other timeout. By that point, the injury was finished, because the Celtics had opened up a whopping 28-point lead.

Boston entered cruise management for the remainder of this contest, rising with the 135-100 win. Porzingis led the best way with 27 factors whereas Tatum completed with 24 and Brown in the end poured in 23.

With their sixtieth victory of the season, the Celtics formally locked up the No. 1 seed throughout the NBA, making certain that they’ll have the house court docket benefit for the whole thing of the playoffs.

Subsequent up, Boston will play host to the Sacramento Kings on Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. ET in TD Backyard.

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