It was a light schedule in the NBA yesterday, and the Thunder had the night off, but two of the five games were important. The Clippers, just behind OKC in the standings, ventured into San Antonio, and the Spurs did unto them what the Spurs have done unto everyone this year. And the Pacers played host to the Celtics, thrashed them, and sent them back home to Boston. The Greenies, mostly, are pretty darn good on the second night of a back-to-back. Not tonight: it started off with seven points in a row from Kevin Durant — he ended up with 28 — and while Boston battled back, kinda sorta, they would never catch up, and four minutes into the fourth quarter, all the starters for both sides were relaxing on the bench. Maybe it just wasn’t the Celtics’ night: when Isaiah Thomas knocks down a game-high 29 points in 29 minutes and still finishes -17, something is definitely askew. Whatever it was, the Thunder earned a split of the season series by a fairly convincing 130-109, despite a 12-0 run by Beantown midway through the fourth.
The secret, I think, lies in the fact that OKC actually took care of the ball for once: only ten turnovers, from which Beantown could snag only nine points. The Thunder’s long-ball prowess, on the roller coaster all season, was on the up side of the curve tonight: 12 of 29, 41 percent. (The Celtics took only 19, made five.) And the boys in Sunset Orange can rebound: 53-42, the sixth consecutive game in which they’ve outrebounded an opponent. What may matter most, though, is that this is the first time OKC has been over .500 on the road against Eastern teams: 6-5 now.
The Eastern trip continues Friday at Philadelphia. Radio guy Matt Pinto seemed anxious about the possibility that the team might be concentrating, not on the 9-58 Sixers, but instead on the Saturday match at Indiana. I just wonder if they’ve filled out their March Madness brackets.