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Celtics Wrap: Boston Completes Epic Comeback In 101-94 Win Over Thunder

Celtics Wrap: Boston Completes Epic Comeback In 101-94 Win Over Thunder

The switch helped Boston better match up with the small-ball Thunder, and the Celtics cranked up their defensive intensity in the process. Two possessions later, Irving buried a 3-pointer and got fouled by Russell Westbrook. "Man, it was just ugly", said Irving, who registered 22 of his team-high 25 points in the second half.

The Thunder gave the most fits to Irving early, who had just three points on 1-of-9 shooting at halftime, his only bucket coming on a 3-pointer on the break.

"Just more stamina, to be honest", Steven Adams said of the team's need.

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. "I thought we played an incredible first half".

The Celtics continued their streak by executing a complete reversal Friday night in Oklahoma City.

Then came the third quarter, when Boston point guard Kyrie Irving turned them flat. In the first half, it looked like they finally came back down to earth. "The Celtics kept fighting". The Thunder will take defensive positives, but a long look at closing quality teams with it on the road for the next three games.

Jeremi Grant was the only other Thunder player in double figures with 11 points.

Contrasted against the way he struggled in the first half, Irving was exceptional in sparking Boston's comeback.

Marcus Morris, who made his Boston debut Friday, scored seven of the C's first 11 points in the quarter to cut the Thunder lead to 10. He's essentially shooting 50 percent from beyond the 3-point arc since the end of the 2016-17 season, through the playoffs and into the new season. Irving paced the Celtics with 25 points, his drive and scoop layup with 14.6 seconds left a microcosm of the Thunder's drastic change from halfcourt terrors for two quarters to stretched and broken by the Celtics' offense after halftime.

But the star guard took over in the fourth quarter.

Al Horford scored 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting, while also hauling in eight rebounds. He missed the free throw but got his own rebound and muscled in the putback over Westbrook. Three of those treys came in the final frame, and he never hesitated with clean looks as the Thunder did everything to corral Irving.

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.

This time, Orlando (6-3) very well could have a healthy Payton back at the controls when it faces the surging Boston Celtics (7-2) Sunday at 6 p.m.at the Amway Center.

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