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Smart, Thomas Lead Celtics to Victory Over Thunder

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Marcus Smart scored a career-high 26 points, Isaiah Thomas added another 20 and the Celtics rallied past the Thunder, 100-85, on Sunday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Smart had a nice touch throughout, shooting 9-for-14 from the floor and 3-for-5 from deep. He made five of eight free throws and grabbed eight rebounds, second on the team to Jared Sullinger‘s 15.

Thomas, meanwhile, knocked down eight of 17 field goal attempts with eight assists — logging 20+ points for the sixth time this season. He scored eight in the fourth quarter as the Celtics gained momentum, drilling two three-pointers within the first four minutes.

The Thunder controlled almost all of the first half, leading by seven when both sides went to the locker room. Russell Westbrook topped their box score with 27 points, though he was their only reliable threat on the evening.

The Celtics improve to 5-4 with the victory, a mere 2.5 games behind the first-place Cavaliers.

Turning Point: The Celtics kicked off the fourth on a 17-2 run, putting them up by 13 with 6:38 remaining. Avery Bradley was a key contributor to the stretch, pitching in seven points to match his entire total from the first three periods.

Hustle Pays Off: Smart earned an impressive chase-down block at the 4:14 mark, recovering from an Evan Turner turnover to swat away D.J. Augustin‘s layup. The basket would have cut the Celtics’ advantage to nine, but Smart’s defensive gem seemed to instead serve as the final dagger.

Without Their Best Man: Thunder star Kevin Durant missed the contest with a strained hamstring, apparently leaving Oklahoma City short-handed. The hosts shot just 36.4 percent (28-for-77) in the defeat, including 6-for-25 on three-point tries.

Next Up: The Celtics continue their Midwestern trip with a visit to the Rockets on Monday, looking to extend their winning streak to three. Tip-off is at 8:00 p.m. ET, with CSN-New England and Root Sports-Southwest calling the action.

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Jack Niemuth

Jack Niemuth

Sports Blogger: http://Packers.blogspot.com , http://Thegreedypinstripes.com , http://Celticsgreenblog.
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