Saturday night the storied Boston Celtics made their way to Chesapeake Energy Arena to take on the post-deadline iteration of the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder were without Al Horford, Darius Bazley, and third-year blossoming superstar Shai-Gilgeous Alexander. The Celtics took the floor without starting point guard Kemba Walker, reserve big Tristian Thompson, Semi Ojeleye, Romeo Langford, and recently acquired swingman Evan Fournier.
The Thunder began the game with a pair of Lugentz Dort triples and suffocating team defense. In the absence of Shai-Gilgeous Alexander Dort, rookie Theo Maledon and second-year guard Ty Jerome were charged with facilitating the Thunder attack. The OKC offense generated 25 first-quarter points while the defense held the Celtics to just 21 thanks to the OKC backcourt holding All-Stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to under 10 combined points.
Normally the main story of any quarter where Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were essentially shutdown would be the defensive masterclass put on by Dort and company. However, in this quarter the main story was two-way center, Moses Brown. Brown posted a double-double in just 8 minutes and 11 seconds. Moses would finish the half with an eye-opening 17 points and 19 rebounds, just 4 boards shy of the all-time Thunder record set by Steven Adams. Brown’s heroics gave the Thunder a 52 to 47 advantage at the half.
The Thunder fought hard in the third quarter but began to lose traction when Lu Dort had to exit the game with concussion-like symptoms, he would not return.
The Celtics All-Stars finally woke up at the start of the fourth quarter. Freed from Lu Dort’s clamps Tatum led the Celtics on a 21-2 run to begin the fourth. The short-handed Thunder could never recover from that haymaker and ended up losing the contest 111 to 94. Jayson Tatum led all scorers with 27 points followed by Jaylen Brown with 25. For the Thunder Moses Brown finished with 21 points and 23 rebounds, tying the all-time Thunder record for rebounds. Rookies Theo Maledon and Aleskej Pokusevski continued to show flashes of improvement.
The loss brings the Thunder’s overall record to 19-26.. OKC will next take on the Dallas Mavericks at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Monday, March 29th at 7:00 pm.