The Oklahoma City Thunder went into their game with the Boston Celtics without Kevin Durant, who sat out for precautionary reasons with a banged up shoulder he received after being fouled on a dunk attempt in OKC’s win over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night.
The Celtics got their All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo back a couple games ago, but have yet to win a game with him in the lineup. That trend continued as Rondo failed to get into double-figures with five points and eight assists in 21 minutes of action. The Thunder played well without Durant behind solid contribution from multiple players, including Serge Ibaka, Jeremy Lamb and Reggie Jackson. Ibaka led all scorers with 21 points, Lamb followed with 19 after scoring 15 in the first half, while Jackson added 14-points on 5-for-14 shooting from the field.
The Thunder has continuously made an effort to prove their doubters wrong with their strong performances through injuries to Russell Westbrook and now Durant. Durant’s injury isn’t serious, but he may miss the next few games, as the Thunder are set to face off against the less than decent Philadelphia 76ers on the road and a matchup with the Atlanta Hawks at home in the Chesapeake Energy Arena. Head coach Scott Brooks may sit Durant for OKC’s next couple of games because he has confidence in the team after their win on Friday.
Durant’s streak of nine straight games with 30 points is on hold for now, until he returns to action. OKC’s role players deserve a lot of credit in the midst of Durant’s offensive rampage, because their production takes loads of pressure off KD because their abilities warrant attention and spreads the floor. They have improved a great deal since Westbrook went down and have a chance to mesh even more if Durant misses the next two games or so.
It will be interesting to see if their high level of play will continue in hopes of extending their six game win streak.