Marcus Smart was the best player on the floor Sunday night. Given the Boston Celtics’ opponent, that’s quite the impressive feat.
Smart went off for a career-high 26 points, outdueling four-time All-Star Russell Westbrook in a 100-85 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Boston trailed for the entire first half and much of the third quarter but ripped off a dominant 27-6 run down the stretch to clinch its most impressive win of the young season.
Isaiah Thomas added 20 points and a team-high eight assists, Avery Bradley chipped in 14 in his return to action and Jared Sullinger pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds.
Westbrook did it all for OKC with Kevin Durant sidelined due to a hamstring injury, scoring a game-high 27 points.
Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Smart, Jae Crowder, Jared Sullinger, Amir Johnson
Smart was back near his old stomping grounds Sunday night, and he looked right at home.
The Oklahoma State product had one of the best overall games of his career, knocking down 9 of 14 shots for 26 points while adding eight rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block.
Smart scored in pretty much every way imaginable. He went 3 for 5 from 3-point range but also took Westbrook to the post several times to get his buckets.
Boston trailed OKC by seven points at the half, but Smart poured in 15 points in the third quarter alone to keep the Celtics in the game heading into the fourth.
BRINGING THE THUNDER
Westbrook gave the Celtics problems right out of the gate.
Thomas was tasked with guarding Westbrook to start and didn’t fare too well, as the Thunder guard scored 10 of OKC’s first 12 points in just five minutes. Two of those points came on this monster slam:
Avery Bradley checked in midway through the period, however, and helped stem the tide. Westbrook scored just one more bucket in the frame before heading to the bench, and Boston’s reserves helped erase an early deficit.
Westbrook scored 27 points, but Smart made sure they didn’t come easy.
The Celtics guard defended Westbrook for most of the night and gave the Thunder star fits in the first half, drawing a pair of offensive fouls on Westbrook that he didn’t exactly agree with.
Smart’s tenacity cost the C’s in the second quarter, though, when he was assessed a technical foul for barking at the referee after a whistle.
I’LL TAKE IT FROM HERE
Smart was the star of the night on offense, but it was Thomas who helped put the Thunder away in the fourth quarter.
The point guard scored nine of his 20 points in the fourth, including two clutch 3-pointers early in the frame during a 13-2 run with Westbrook and Smart both on the bench that helped Boston open up a 9-point lead heading down the stretch.
PLAY OF THE NIGHT
Smart just about did it all Sunday, as evidenced by this impressive block on D.J. Augustin:
The Celtics will travel to Houston on Monday to take on James Harden and the Rockets, who have lost their last three contests to drop to 4-6. It will be Boston’s fifth game in seven days.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@sarahcphipps