Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving willed his team to victory on Sunday night, ending OKC’s seven game winning streak. Paul George led all scorers with 37 points, as Russell Westbrook recorded a 22 point, 16 assist, 12 rebound triple double in a losing effort. The triple double was the sixth in a row for Westbrook, who now has 19 triple doubles this season.
For Boston, the home win against the Thunder was the 9th win in 10 games. With the exception of a 3 point output by Gordon Hayward, every Celtic who played was able to score in the double digits (8 Players). Marcus Smart continued to have his best 3-point shooting season of his career, as the 5th year guard out of Oklahoma State hit 4 of 9 threes attempted, scoring 18 for Boston.
With the win, Boston moves to 3rd place in the Eastern Conference standings. The Celtics had started last week in 5th, but has won 4 games in a row, enough to push them past the Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers. The Celtics entered this season expected to be the team to beat in the east, but the Raptors and Bucks have surprised many, surpassing the Celtics this season. Boston finds themselves 3.5 games back of the Raptors, and 5.0 games back from the Bucks. With just 29 games left in the season, it is now or never for Kyrie Irving, Jayson Tatum, and the Boston Celtics to make a move towards the top of the east.
As for Oklahoma City, the Thunder return home for two winnable games against the Magic and the Grizzlies before facing a couple west rivals in the Blazers and Rockets. The Thunder will look to ride Russell Westbrook and Paul George for as long as they can, and for good reason as Westbrook is averaging a triple double all season, and George is averaging 32.5 points in his last 10 games.