BOSTON Russell Westbrook scored 31 points despite missing all seven shots he took in the fourth quarter and the Oklahoma City Thunder squandered most of a 10-point lead before holding on to beat the 89-84 on Friday night.
Westbrook went 11 for 13 from the line, hitting a pair of free throws with 14 seconds left after Boston cut the deficit to 85-84. The Thunder were playing without NBA scoring leader Kevin Durant, who has a sore left ankle.
scored 16 points for the Celtics, but had a season-low two rebounds. Rajon Rondo had 14 points and a season-low seven assists. Glen “Big Baby” Davis went 2 for 10 from the field and missed four free throws in the fourth quarter.
Boston had won three in a row and eight of nine.
Oklahoma missed its last 13 shots of the game, and the Celtics missed their last nine as the teams combined for just 27 points in the fourth quarter.
The Celtics have dodged two of the top young players in the league this week. On Wednesday, No. 1 overall draft choice John Wall sat out the ‘ game in Boston with a sprained left foot; the Celtics won that one 114-83, their biggest margin of victory of the season.
But the Thunder managed to overcome Durant’s absence against the defending Eastern Conference champions.
The Thunder took a 77-67 lead near the end of the third when Westbrook lost control of the ball and it rolled over to Royal Ivey, who put up a desperation 3-pointer as the shot clock expired and smiled as it banked off the glass and through the net. Delonte West scored to make it 77-69 heading into the fourth.
It was a nine-point game with 7:11 left before the Celtics cut it to 83-79 on five free throws. It was still a four-point game when Davis missed both free throws, then went back to the line and missed one of two. West made a pair of foul shots to make it a one-point game with 76 seconds left.
But Ray Allen, who scored eight points on 3-of-9 shooting, missed a 3-pointer that would have given Boston its first lead of the half. After Westbrook’s free throws, West missed a 3 that would have tied it.
Garnett played just three minutes in the first quarter but returned in the second with a big bump on the back of his head. Rondo came up limping during a timeout with 6:19 left to play in the fourth; he stayed in the game for another possession, then came out for West.
NOTES: The Thunder used three different starting lineups all of last year. They’ve now used three in the first 12 games this year. … Boston’s had 10 of his 11 points in the first quarter. … The Celtics had trailed only once before at halftime. … receiver Wes Welker, an Oklahoma City native, was in the crowd wearing a Thunder cap. … It was Durant’s first game out since he sat out seven in a row in March 2009.