Thunder squanders 18-point halftime lead in loss to Celtics

Paul George Gordon Hayward

How I Play: Boston Celtics' Gordon Hayward

They produced arguably their best win on Friday night as they overcame the star-studded Oklahoma City Thunder 101-94 on the road.

They entered the evening with the NBA's second-ranked defense and squeezed the life out of the Celtics, taking a 55-37 lead at halftime and holding Boston to 31 percent shooting.

Irving (25 points) and Al Horford (20 points) scored 39 of the C's 64 second-half points to complete the comeback.

The Celtics have shown that they will blow the lesser teams out, they have proven that they can struggle and then close the game out with clutch play, and now they are showing you that no lead is safe in any situation. But Boston got a nice look at the way Morris can help out during the second half, and this was by far the team's best win after feasting on a rather agreeable schedule over the past two weeks.

OKC drops to 4-4 on the season.

However, Irving and Boston chipped away at Oklahoma City's lead throughout the third quarter before trimming the deficit to a point, at 68-67 with less than a minute left in the third.

Indeed, Oklahoma City's defense gave Boston major fits in the first half as they flew around to loose balls, contested shots at the rim and on the perimeter. Tip-off from Amway Center is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET. "It's going to be a huge test for us, but we have to respond". "(Friday) was definitely a tough loss, so we need to bounce back and have a better game". "I was 1 of 9 in the first half, so I was back there getting my thoughts together and understanding my rhythm was going to come".

"We're resilient, but this is a different animal (Sunday) night because Boston is playing as well as anybody in the league and they have arguably the best point guard in the NBA, " Magic coach Frank Vogel said.

Sure, it wasn't always pretty, but it's the best-looking win among the bunch. "We have two days before the next game against NY, so there's a line of thinking that, 'Even if he's ready, let's get him two more practices so we can fully put it behind him.' But we'll see how he feels (on Sunday)".

Things looked dire for Orlando back on October 20 when Payton left with his injury and the team was beaten 126-121 by the Brooklyn Nets. Since then, however, the Celtics have ripped off seven consecutive victories behind the brilliance of Irving (22.1 ppg., 5.7 apg. and 3.4 rpg.) and the steady leadership of head coach Brad Stevens. "That's winning time", Irving said.

On this night, Horford was 8 of 10 shooting overall, and he made all four of his 3-pointers. Anthony scored 10 points with 14 rebounds, but he scored just two points on 2-of-11 shooting in the second half. The Celtics took the little time they needed to accept their devastating loss, and now they are embracing every bit of talent that is still on the roster.

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