Marcus Smart is all grown up.
Smart dropped 26 points and eight rebounds as Boston (5-4) beat the Thunder (6-4) 100-85 on “Sunset Sunday” at Chesapeake Arena.
The former Oklahoma State star shot 9 of 14 as the Celtics charged back late in the second half. OKC, wearing its alternate orange uniforms, actually led this game by seven at halftime and by two after the third quarter, but the sun set on the Thunder in the fourth.
Oklahoma City shot 2 of 17 in the fourth quarter and scored just 11 points as Boston ran away with things. Russell Westbrook scored 27 points, but shot just 5 of 20 and 0 of 5 in the fourth quarter. The Celtics opened the fourth on a 17-2 run and never looked back.
Thunder coach Billy Donovan believes that his team’s offensive struggles can be attributed to a lack of ball movement, or perhaps a lack of general awareness.
“One of the things I’ve gotta really try and help these guys through film … is them having an awareness of other guys that are open,” Donovan said. “In certain situations when we’re catching the ball in certain areas of the floor, there’s times where we do a terrific job of it. But sometimes we don’t do such a great job and that’s something that as we’re trying to build and get better at those things, that they’ll see it more often.”
The Celtics outscored OKC 42-28 in the paint and outrebounded the Thunder 47-34. Boston collected more assists than did OKC, shot a better percentage from the field and from deep and dominated in fast-break points. It was a thorough victory.
Serge Ibaka scored 16 points to go with 10 rebounds, but no other Thunder player scored in double figures. Enes Kanter and Kyle Singler each chipped in eight points off the bench, but starters Steven Adams, Andre Roberson and Anthony Morrow combined to play 70 minutes and score just 13 points.
“Even when we got out of rhythm a little bit offensively, even when we did get some pretty good shots, we weren’t able to make ‘em,” Donovan said. “We really weren’t able to get the ball to go into the basket very much.”
Dion Waiters scored seven off the OKC bench but shot just 3 of 11 in 29 minutes.
“It was just one of them games,” Waiters said. “You get off to a good start but in the second half you just can’t make anything. We’ve jost got to do a better job of steady kill; just staying locked in.”
Smart had plenty of help in his assault. Isaiah Thomas scored 20, Avery Bradley added 14 off the bench and Jae Crowder chipped in 10. Boston shared the ball down the stretch when it mattered the most.
“Everybody trusts everybody on the team to make tough shots and make big shots,” Smart told the Boston Globe.
Don’t count Westbrook among those impressed by Smart’s two-way abilities. When asked if there was anything special about the way Smart played, Westbrook responded with a resounding “No.”
“Don’t get it twisted, he (Smart) had a good game,” Westbrook said. “We’ll see him again.”