Okay, maybe it wasn't quite THAT kind of butt-whuppin', but the Green certainly looked like giants and the Thunder's gods seemed merely mortal down the stretch of a frenetic game.
Behind a "you can't handle the Truth" classic performance by Captain Paul Pierce -- 27 points on 8-16 shooting and 4-6 on threes, 4 rebounds, 3 steals and 1 assist -- and an aggressive breakout night from Jeff Green (17 points from 6-11 shooting, 2 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block), the C's turned their previous performance against the San Antonio Spurs on its ear and, this time, they were the team that executed crisply down the stretch, knocking in key shots as their opponents turned the ball over late.
Green led a vicious bench beatdown against the Thunder reserves to the tune of 35 pine-points to 13. While he claimed earlier in the week, and then reiterated after the game, that facing his old team was nothing special, Uncle Jeffy certainly played with the kind of fire that many in the Bloggosphere have been clamoring for, barreling toward the rim with an assortment of powerful, acrobatic contortions. In his post game interview, Green admitted that his climb back to health from last year's open heart surgery has been steep, but that he's beginning to come around. If the JG we saw tonight is any kind of indication of the person we might be seeing on a consistent basis, call the City...we need to start gassing up the Duck Boats, pronto!
In all seriousness, though, Green was tremendous, Pierce was spectacular and Jason Terry was clutch. The Jet scored 16 points on the night shooting an afterburner-hot 6-8 (4 of 6 from Threeland), including a HUGE 3 down the stretch when OKC was attempting its numerous runs, at least once closing to within 3.
Kevin Garnett continued to prove that he remains among the top five (hell, if you said "top three," I don't think anyone would have the cojones to argue with you) power forwards/centers/everythings in the League with 18 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, one steal and complete mastery over the Celtics defensive directive.
And, the Maestro? Rajon Rondo scored 6 and grabbed 8 rebounds to go with a steal. Oh, yeah...he also orchestrated 16 assists on the night -- a feat that now has him one game shy of tying John Stockton for consecutive games with double-digit assists, and two games short of trailing only three-time MVP and four-time NBA assist leader Magic Johnson for the streak title.
Though they would ultimately fall at the hands of the steadily improving Celtics, OKC stars Kevin Durant (29 points) and Russell Westbrook 26 points, 8 assists, 7 boards, 2 steals and 1 block) did their best to stay the green horde, but to no avail. Defensive menace and rising offensive terror Serge Ibaka contributed 17 points, 13 rebounds and 2 blocks. And, old friend and former Beast Kendrick Perkins? His productive night (9 boards, 5 points, 2 blocks 2 assists, 1 steal) was highlighted by a sequence in which he did his own Magic impression, stripping the ball from Celtic Brandon Bass and leading the break up the court before slipping a sweet dime to Thabo Sefolosha for the lay-in.
All in all, a really nice win for an ever-improving Celtics team that has been searching for consistency on both ends of the floor.
Next up? A date with a Baby and one of the men who helped us land Courtney Lee.
Boston Celtics vs. Orlando Magic
Sunday, November 25th, 2012
@ The Amway Center, Orlando, FL