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Monday, November 8, 2010
Celtics are deeper than most give them credit for
For good reason, the Oklahoma City Thunder entered this season as one of the NBA's most hyped teams. With Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Jeff Green, they have the best young nucleus in the NBA and they play a fun, up-tempo style that will provide much excitement in a podunk city.
The Boston Celtics began a four-game road trip last night at the Ford Center and they showed why they are still one of the top teams in the league - with defense and a much deeper bench - in a 92-83 win.
Green was out with an ankle injury but Durant (game-high 34 points, 6 rebounds) and Westbrook (16 points, 10 assists) put up some numbers. The problem for the Thunder (3-3) was that they don't have much beyond those three young studs. Nenad Kristic added 13 points and Serge Ibaka (8 points, 11 rebounds) did his energy thing but that's about it.
Ray Allen led the Celtics (6-1) with 19 points, Paul Pierce had 17 and Rajon Rondo notched 10 points and 10 assists. Kevin Garnett (8 points, 8 rebounds) and Jermaine O'Neal (9 rebounds, 2 blocks) also made some plays.
For the first time this young season, the Celtics' bench completely dominated the opposition to the tune of 33-12 and that was without Delonte West. Nate Robinson and Semih Erden both scored nine points, Glen Davis had eight points and Marquis Daniels added seven points.
Boston led 28-21 after the first quarter and 58-37 at the half thanks to a running, one-handed 3-pointer by Robinson at the halftime buzzer.
Oklahoma City woke up in the third quarter, thanks to Westbrook's nine straight points, and were down 73-64 entering the fourth quarter.
Things got a little scary since the Cs 22-point lead was down to six after James Harden's 3-pointer but defensive stops and big shots by Davis (three foul line jumpers in a row) allowed Boston to hold on (19-19 in the fourth).
They will definitely need a good performance from the bench tonight as they go to Dallas to meet the Mavericks.
On a side note, I decided last week to DVR all Celtics and Bruins games this season since I think they both have a chance to be really good and I don't want to miss anything that you can't find in highlights and game stories. It's the best decision I've made in a long time, both of these teams are very enjoyable to watch and the hometown announcers on Comcast Sportsnet and NESN are some of the best around.