I am not usually a betting man but if you had wanted to bet that the OKC Thunder, playing without two starters including superstar Kevin Durant, would beat the Celtics , in Boston , I’d have taken the bet. There was no way the Thunder should have won last night’s game but somehow they did. In the fourth quarter , they scored only two buckets , went dry for a 10 minute spell, committed silly fouls and turned the ball over.They also played great defense and kept the Celtics off the boards , limiting them to one shot per possession.It was enough to hang on for a most improbable victory.
Prior to last night’s game the Celtics had been unbeaten on their home floor and they had just got Delonte West back from suspension . They should have been at their best ; instead they just didn’t look like themselves . Perhaps they were suffering from a letdown when they found Kevin Durant would not be playing. Ray Allen and Paul Pierce were missing in action , Garnett was invisible except for a brief spell in the fourth quarter and Rondo , usually so dominant , was stifled by the Thunder prior to leaving the game with an injury. As for Shaq , he went 5-for-5 in the first quarter but only got a couple of free throws the rest of the way. He also showed what a dirty player he is by committing a couple of hard fouls against the Thunder’s leading scorer, Russell Westbrook. In the fourth quarter , as the Celtics kept chipping away at the Thunder’s lead , I thought that they would still be able to pull it off. It is to the Thunder’s credit that they didn’t fold as the Celtics and the Garden crowd got into the game . Russell Westbrook was magnificent but credit should also go to Coach Scott Brooks who has his players believing in themselves.
In the preseason , I had thought that Chicago would be one of the élite teams in the East . However , a couple of early losses dimmed their luster and I began to have my doubts . Last night ‘s game , a win over the Mavericks in Dallas , restored my faith in them . I think that ,come playoff time, they will be a force to contend with . In fact , I rate them ahead of the Hawks and the Magic , just below the Celtics and the Heat.In the off-season , the Bulls made a lot of changes to the roster in a vain attempt to sign LeBron James . They didn’t succeed in getting James but have yet managed to put together an exciting and scrappy team . The biggest reason for their resurgence is new coach , Tom Thibodeau , formerly an assistant with the Boston Celtics . While in Boston , he was known for his defensive smarts and he has now brought those to Chicago. Thanks to him , Derrick Rose is showing an increased interest in defense while continuing to be a stand-out offensively. Thibodeau also seems to have lit a fire under F Taj Gibson who went for 18 points and 17 rebounds last night against the Mavericks . With Kyle Korver shooting 3- pointers and all the Bulls crashing the boards , the Bulls are a tough opponent for any team . I’d never really seen Joakim Noah in action till last night when I was impressed by his tenacity and his passing ability. Once Carlos Boozer comes back from the injured list , the Bulls should be even more improved , even more of a headache to the league’s élite . They play the Lakers in L.A on e night . It should be a good game .