BOSTON – When you see the final stats in Boston’s 117-112 loss to Oklahoma City, two words come to mind … wasted opportunity.
Points in the paint.
Fast break points.
Boston won all three categories, the kind of trifecta that usually equates to a victory.
- Highlights: Oklahoma City Thunder 117, Boston Celtics 112
- Thomas and Westbrook put on a scoring display in fourth quarter
- Stars, studs and duds: Celtics were 'ready to battle' in loss to Thunder
- Westbrook, Thunder pull away in second half to beat Celtics, 117-112
And that’s what makes this loss sting a little more than most.
This was a good team they faced, in their building and on so many levels they played as well or better than the Thunder.
I asked Isaiah Thomas about whether Friday’s loss felt like a missed opportunity.
“Yeah, it sucks that we lost,” he said. “We have to focus on the Knicks now. We have to capitalize on these games at home, especially when we have a chance to win at the end. We can’t hold our head on this loss. We have to move on to the next one and get a win in New York.”
The loss dropped Boston to 6-6 at home this season which firmly establishes them as the worst team on their home floor among squads that would qualify for the playoffs if the season ended today.
As much as they want to discard what happened against the Thunder soon, it would be a mistake for them to look past what happened tonight and not be somewhat bothered by it.
Yes they competed as well as you could expect from a team who played just 24 hours prior on the road in an emotionally charged game that the Celtics managed to escape with a win.
But on Friday it just wasn’t enough.
In addition to some timely shots by Westbrook who was being tightly defended at the time, the Thunder got big contributions from their role players.
Enes Kanter and Domantis Sabonis each had 20 points for the Thunder (18-13).
“If we shut one of those guys down we get this game,” said Amir Johnson. “We just made a few mistakes in transition. Westbrook causes so much attention we leave other guys open and they made shots.”
And even with Kanter giving the Celtics fits around the rim and Sabonis causing major problems with his long-range shooting, Boston still had its chances to come away with the victory.
“We’re in such a gamut of games right now that we need to learn from the parts that we can really improve on,” Stevens said. “And we need to move forward.”