Paul Pierce had 20 points and nine rebounds, Ray Allen scored 18 points and the Boston Celtics clamped down on the Oklahoma City Thunder for a 96-83 victory Wednesday night.
After giving up 29 points in the first quarter, the defending NBA champions held the Thunder to 25 percent shooting over the next two periods and didn’t let them match that point total for the next 26 minutes.
Kevin Garnett added 17 points and eight rebounds, Kendrick Perkins had 10 points and nine rebounds and Rajon Rondo had 11 assists for the Celtics.
Boston moved to 1-1 on the second night of back-to-back games this season, after going 16-3 in those situations last season on its way to the NBA title.
Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 17 points, but had another poor shooting night in his team’s new gym. He went only 6-for-15 and is 18-for-50 this season at the Ford Center. Jeff Green added 14 points for Oklahoma City, and Russell Westbrook finished with 13 after two late 3-pointers.
Oklahoma City opened with its best offensive quarter of the season, taking a 29-21 lead through 12 minutes. But Pierce opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer with a hand in his face, and the Celtics reeled off nine straight points to take the lead on Leon Powe’s three-point play.
Boston continued to pull away as Oklahoma City started out 1-for-17 in the second quarter, and Perkins’ layup provided a 46-36 edge.
Oklahoma City never made much of a dent in Boston’s lead after that, and Allen’s 3-pointer from the left wing stretched the advantage to 70-53 with 2:56 left in the third quarter.
Allen faced the unique situation of playing his former team in the new city that it relocated to after last season.
He talked before the game about how he hoped the NBA would return to Seattle and said again that he’d be willing to work to make that happen.
“It definitely worked,” Allen said. “I think just to have basketball not only in Portland but in Seattle, it only does better for the league.”