Two Halves, Two Different Outcomes: OKC Falls To Boston
By A. Suave Francisco
It was a highly anticipated matchup in Oklahoma City with the Boston Celtics coming to town. The Thunder would be featuring their new talent and the Celtics would have their new star on display as well.
The first half of the game went according to OKC's plan but there was an obvious let down in the second half in essentially every aspect of their game.
OKC scored 55 first-half points and held Boston to just 37. They appeared to be clicking on all cylinders. They were shooting 47.6 percent from the field and netted eight threes. They slowed down the Celtics, holding them to just 31 percent shooting.
In the third quarter, there was a slight shift in the game's narrative. Boston steadily started cutting away at OKC's 18-point lead and by the time you could walk to the restroom and back, Boston was down by only 4 points and the buzz in the Chesapeake Energy Arena started tapering down to a decisive rumble of anxiety.
Everything that could go wrong, went wrong. Carmelo went 1-for-12 in the second half for just 10 total points. Russell only shot 30 percent in the second half and Boston's head coach Brad Stevens figured out a way to crack OKC's defensive scheme. His team ended up ramping up both their offensive and defensive game in the second half, outscoring the Thunder 64-39 in the second half.
Kyrie Irving figured out what he was doing wrong after a 1-for-9 shooting performance in the first half and turned that into a 9-for-13 shooting performance in the second half and scored 22 of his 25 total points. Unfortunately for OKC, Irving wasn't the only player to heat up in the second half, it was a team effort. Al Horford, Boston's other star, finished the first half with an anemic three points on 1-of-2 shooting but erupted for 17 points in the second half on 7-of-8 shooting, including a perfect 4-for-4 from three. He and Irving combined for 45 points on 18-of-32 shooting.
OKC's three stars, Westbrook, George, and Anthony combined for 54.
That gave Boston the advantage on one end of the floor, but defensively, they were just as dominant. This game was a classic case of a tale of two halves. The young intellectual, Brad Stevens simply showed up and out-coached the seasoned intellectual, Billy Donovan in front of an opposing crowd.