What a game! Back and fourth throughout, it just had me on the edge of my seat! Let me start off by saying that the Thunder 100% without a doubt should have won this game. The fact that they didnt, says a lot about that team. Their free throw shooting down the stretch alone was atrocious, missing threeof their last four free throws, and honestly the fact that it was Russ that missed one of two and the Mello missing BOTH of his makes it worse. Those are your top guys, if you can’t rely on them down the stretch of a game as tight as that one to make their free throws than you’re not going far…. Especially in the Western Conference. This game also spoke volumes to the Celtics’ determination out there.
The Celtics started this game without Kyrie Irving and Jaylen Brown once again tonight, so their already depleted bench looked even thinner than usual. The bench at times looked like a G league team, when the starters weren’t in there it was obvious. That being said, they still got some solid minutes from Larkin and Monroe. Other than Tatum, who we will get to in a second, Larkin had the best (+/-) on the team at (+)17. He hit some big shots when the starters were on the bench and the offense needed a basket.
Lets get right into Tatum. It is becoming more and more obvious how much of a stud this kid is going to be. He looked more comfortable tonight being ‘The Guy’ than he does at times when hes just a piece of the puzzle. His jumpshot is smooth as butter and his stepback is killer. The team was a staggering (-)22 without him on the floor. Wow. You could tell right from the start he was going to have himself a game, he came out aggressive in the first and went right to the basket, not settling for bad shots and just picking his spots real well. Second quarter all I have to say is go watch those two absolutely ELECTRIC tomahawk jams. With all the injuries plaguing the Celtics right now we needed him to step up and so far he’s answered the call finishing the night with 23 points on 8-12 shooting and 3-6 from beyond the arch
Where in the world was Al Horford? This is becoming a trend that I don’t like for Al. He just disapears in certain games. 5 points on 2-9 shooting is not what we need from a max contract guy. That being said he played a solid game defensively. The Celtics as a team had a very solid game defensively. The Thunder had a 41% field goal percentage but I always felt like they were shooting with a hand in there face, never an uncontested shot. And the Celtics also grinded it out on the boards, winning the battle 59-53.
So overall I’d say definitely a solid hard fought win. The Thunder are going to be thinking about this for a long time, can’t go 65.5% from the line and expect to win a tight game. It’s going to be interesting watching this team going forward without Kyrie, I expect to see big strides from Tatum in demanding the ball, but only time will tell. Final score Celtics 100 Thunder 99.