Halftime stars, studs and duds: Westbrook makes his presence felt vs. Celtics

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Westbrook makes his presence felt vs. Celtics

BOSTON – The Oklahoma City Thunder are a perfect example of the pick-your-poison scenario that so many teams face in the NBA.

They could focus on limiting Russell Westbrook which opens things up for his teammates. Or they try and keep his teammates from having a big game.

The Thunder seemingly had both Westbrook and a handful of his teammates shooting the ball well which was good enough for them to take a 58-54 lead into the half. 

Oklahoma City came with one run after another, only to be turned back by the Celtics either by a timely basket or a defensive stop that eventually led to a score.

The Thunder finally tied the game up with less than two minutes to play following a dunk by Steven Adams.

Boston regained the lead following a 3-pointer by Al Horford only for Westbrook to tie it up at 54-all with 44.1 seconds to play in the half. And it was Westbrook’s driving lay-up that put the Thunder ahead 56-54 with less than 30 seconds left.

After an Isaiah Thomas turnover, Westbrook remained in attack mode and drew a foul with 1.6 seconds to play. His two free throws capped off a 7-0 run by Oklahoma City to close out the half.

It was a one-possession game after the first quarter, which was good for the Thunder when you consider they trailed by as many as 11 points in the first.

The game remained close during the early stages of the second quarter, with the Celtics unable to capitalize on the Thunder giving Russell Westbrook a rest.

The Celtics have had their problems at home this season, in part because of slow starts.

Boston players were determined to not let that happen on Friday as they opened play with a 17-6 spurt.

But the Thunder soon recovered and went on a 12-2 run to cut Boston’s lead to 26-25.

The Celtics got a last-second floater from Tyler Zeller which would serve as the final points of the first quarter which ended with Boston on top 28-25.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of Friday's game.



Russell Westbrook

It wasn’t a Russ-diculous line in the first half, but there’s no mistaking his presence was felt. The attention he drew opened things up for some of his teammates. That said, Westbrook still went into the half with 16 points, nine assists and four rebounds.

Amir Johnson

You know what Johnson can do defensively, but from time to time he can get cooking with his shot, too. He scored seven points in the first four minutes of play and had 10 points, five rebounds and four assists.



Isaiah Thomas

Like Westbrook, Thomas’ first half stats didn’t exactly blow you away. After two quarters of play, he has 10 points and five assists.

Domantas Sabonis

Nobody benefited more from the attention paid to Russell Westbrook, than Sabonis. He had 17 points at the half on a perfect 7-for-7 shooting night.  

Enes Kanter

The Boston Celtics could not keep Kanter from killing them on the offensive boards. At the half, Kanter had 11 points and five rebounds.

Al Horford

It was another solid showing for Horford who had 12 points at the half on 4-for-9 shooting with four rebounds.



Jae Crowder

After an extremely efficient shooting night at Indiana on Wednesday, was nowhere to be found 24 hours later. Crowder missed all four of his shots from the field, going scoreless in the first half.

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Kyrie Irving getting second opinion on injured knee

NBC Sports Boston Photo

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Kyrie Irving getting second opinion on injured knee

1:15 - A. Sherrod Blakely joins Gary Tanguay and Trenni Kusnierek to discuss Kyrie Irving getting a second opinion on his injured knee and what the Kyrie’s options are for the remainder of the season.

5:53 - Kyle Draper and Brian Scalabrine break down the Celtics stunning last second comeback win over the Thunder with multiple key players sitting out.

10:27 - Tom Curran and Jerod Mayo stop by Early Edition to play a game of Fill in the Blank that involves Gronkowski’s contract and the Patriots best offseason acquisition.



Morris caps off improbable comeback vs Thunder

USA TODAY Sports Photo

Morris caps off improbable comeback vs Thunder

BOSTON – Marcus Morris has never been one to lack for confidence, regardless of time or score.

So with the game on the line, Morris … hesitated?

Uh, not exactly. 

It was a pump fake to create just enough space to launch what would become a game-winning 3-pointer that lifted Boston to an improbable 100-99 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. 

Morris was asked about his uh, hesitation before draining the first game-winner of his NBA career.

“Hesitation? I don’t even know how to spell that (bleep),” quipped Morris. 

Morris arrived in Boston as a two-way talent via trade from Detroit, whose strength was more at the defensive end of the floor.

But with Kyrie Irving (left knee soreness) and Jaylen Brown (concussion) both out, Morris has emerged as one of the team’s primary scoring options. 

“He’s another huge part of our team moving forward,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “If you’re counting on 13 or 14 (points) from him, now we’re counting on 16 or 18.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 100-99 win over Oklahoma City. 


Marcus Morris: Even before he drained the game-winning basket, Morris was having a good night for the Celtics. He finished with 21 points on 8-for-13 shooting to go with four rebounds and one steal.

Jayson Tatum: He has looked to score more now with key players sidelined, and the Celtics will be better for this long-term. Tatum had 21 points and 11 rebounds for Boston. And being 20 years and 17 days old, he became the youngest player in franchise history to have a game of at least 20 points and 10 rebounds, bettering the previous record set by Antoine Walker (20 years and 165 days old on Jan. 24, 1997.

Russell Westbrook: A normal night for Russell Westbrook is a career game-like performance for most NBA players. He led the Thunder with 27 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. 

Paul George: Boston had problems limiting Paul George most of the game. For the second time in as many games this season against Boston, George tallied a double-double. He had 24 points on 9-for-19 shooting along with a game-high 13 rebounds.



Greg Monroe: On those stretches when the Celtics are thirsty for points, he has been the ultimate thirst-quencher off the bench. He led all reserves on Tuesday with 17 points on 6-for-12 shooting from the field to go with six rebounds, three assists and a blocked shot.

Shane Larkin: He continues to make the most of his increased role with Kyrie Irving out. Larkin had 13 points off the bench on 5-for-9 shooting with four rebounds.



Carmelo Anthony: He had 13 points on 5-for-13 shooting, but Melo’s impact was minimal at best. What he will be remembered for from this game was the two free throw misses with 8.4 seconds and the Thunder up two points, that set up the Celtics’ Marcus Morris for his game-winning 3-pointer.

Al Horford: This was yet another stinker in terms of shooting the ball, for Al Horford. Not only did he miss shots that he knows he should have knocked down, but many came at a time when the Celtics needed a big shot to get some semblance of control. Usually it’s Horford whose play lifts Boston to victory. But on this night, it was his teammates who bailed him out because if Boston lost this game you can bet there would have been plenty of eyes that would gloss past his seven assists and six rebounds, and instead lock on to his five points (on 2-for-9 shooting) and four turnovers.