By Tristan Deschenes, 98.5 The Sports Hub
Kemba Walker scored 27 points and hit two clutch three pointers down the stretch to help lift the Celtics to a 112-111 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Both teams came into the game playing great basketball, each sporting 9-1 records in their last 10 games.
The Celtics and Thunder went back and forth throughout the whole game. Boston got out to a 28-22 lead in the first quarter after Boston went on a 10-0 run. Oklahoma City responded with a 10-0 run of their own and took a 32-28 lead into the second quarter. The Thunder’s size with Steven Adams and Danillo Gallinari gave the Celtics trouble early. Gallinari had nine first-quarter points.
Oklahoma City created early separation from the Celtics with a 15-2 second quarter run. A Dennis Schroder layup with 3:47 capped off the Thunder run and gave them a 51-42 lead. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander would score a layup with 19.1 seconds left in the quarter to give OKC a 61-52 lead going into the second half.
The Celtics got going early in the third quarter. The Celtics started the half on an 11-3 run. A Jaylen Brown three with 10:32 cut the Celtic deficit to 62-59. Jayson Tatum would give Boston the lead after he scored a layup to cut the lead to one, and followed the basket up with a three-pointer to give Boston a 70-68 lead with 7:56 to go in the quarter. Boston outscored the Thunder 32-23 in the quarter and went into the fourth tied at 84. Tatum was big in the quarter for Boston scoring 12 points in the quarter alone.
In the fourth, Boston took a 99-93 lead with 6:25 to go after a Daniel Theis layup. Gilgeous-Alexander would cut the Boston lead to two after knocking down two free throws made the score 101-99. Walker would come up big down the stretch. With 2:40 to go in the game, Kemba Walker got Gallinari on the switch and hit a step-back three to increase the green’s lead to 106-99. After a bucket by the Thunder, Walker hit another three pointer, this time over Gallinari and Schroder. The three gave the Celtics separation at 109-101.
The Celtics did their best to throw it away. With 16.8 seconds left, Chris Paul went coast to coast to for the layup to get the lead down to 111-108. After a timeout, the Celtics got the ball into Gordon Hayward, but rather than just hold it, he tried to dunk the ball and got blocked. Marcus Smart came to the rescue, stealing the ball from Gilgeous-Alexander, and allowing Kemba Walker to ice the game with free throws.
Boston was led by Walker who struggled from the field, but still finished with 27 points on the night. Jayson Tatum got his ninth consecutive game of 20-plus points. Tatum scored 26 and added 11 rebounds. Jaylen Brown chipped in with 17. All five Celtics starters scored in double figures.
Alexander finished the afternoon with 24 points. Gallinari also scored 24 and All-Star Chris Paul scored 22.
Up Next: Boston will travel to Houston to face James Harden, Russell Westbrook and the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night.