Oklahoma City Thunder at Boston Celtics
When: 6:00 PM ET, Sunday, March 8, 2020
Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Preview for Digital Sports Desk by Gracenote
BOSTON – One of the top teams in the league at home for much of the season, the banged-up Boston Celtics are suddenly struggling to put together complete efforts at TD Garden. They’ll try to snap a three-game home losing streak before beginning a road-heavy portion of the schedule when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight.
Overtime losses at home to Houston and Brooklyn – the latter of which saw Boston blow a 21-point lead in the second half – started the TD Garden slide, and Friday’s 99-91 setback against Utah extended the squad’s frustration. “Our effort was (crap),” guard Marcus Smart told reporters. “We gave them the first couple punches and then, after that, our effort died down. We picked it up towards the end, but it was too late at that time.”
The Thunder won the first two legs of their three-game road trip at Detroit and New York. Danilo Gallinari led six players in double figures in a 126-103 rout of the Knicks on Friday night as Oklahoma City posted its most lopsided road victory of the season and remained in sixth place in the Western Conference.
TIME: 6 p.m. ET. TV: NBA TV, FS Oklahoma, NBCS Boston, NBA TV Canada
ABOUT THE THUNDER (39-24): Oklahoma City won all four quarters at Madison Square Garden and tied a season low with only four turnovers in a complete effort that pleased head coach Billy Donovan. “(We) put together some stops and were able to build on the lead,” Donovan told reporters. “Guys did a nice job of closing the third (quarter) and starting the fourth. We played well on both ends.” Chris Paul finished with 21 points, 12 assists, three steals and one turnover in 30 minutes as the Thunder improved to 8-3 on the road against the East.
ABOUT THE CELTICS (42-20): Boston was without Jaylen Brown (hamstring) and Gordon Hayward (knee) while star guard Kemba Walker (knee) was on a minutes restriction Friday night, and a bench that the team really needed to step up produced a total of just 13 points on 5-of-18 shooting. “We may not have those two guys on Sunday,” coach Brad Stevens told the media of Brown and Hayward. “Certainly not Jaylen and who knows what crops up between now and then? That’s the way the league works.” All-Star Jayson Tatum had at least 32 points in five straight games before being held to 18 against the Jazz.
- The Celtics play seven of their next nine on the road after this one, including visits to Milwaukee and Toronto, the two teams ahead of them in the East.
- Thunder G Dennis Schroder had a plus-21 rating – his second-best figure this season – in just 30 minutes at New York.
- Boston won 112-111 at Oklahoma City last month to push its winning streak in the series to five games.