Celtics Wrap: Late Marcus Morris 3-Pointer Gives Boston 100-99 Win Over Thunder


The Boston Celtics were without five of their best players Tuesday night against one of the NBA’s most talented teams in the Oklahoma City Thunder.

And they still found a way to win.

Despite a depleted roster, the C’s led for several stretches of the game, and ultimately prevailed after a 3-pointer by Marcus Morris put Boston ahead 100-99 with 1.2 seconds left in the game. Jayson Tatum led the C’s with 23 points, while Norris poured in 21. Russell Westbrook (27 points) and Paul George (24 points) led the way for the Thunder.

The Celtics improve to 48-23 with the win, while the Thunder fall to 43-30.

Here’s how it all went down:

STARTING FIVE
PG: Terry Rozier
SG: Jayson Tatum
SF: Marcus Morris
PF: Al Horford
C: Aron Baynes

ON THE MEND
The Celtics are dealing with a lot of injuries. These five players didn’t play versus OKC.

SLOPPY OPENING
Morris was aggressive early, scoring the first four points for the C’s. The Thunder recovered from a tough shooting start, including an 0-for-3 mark from Carmelo Anthony on 3-pointers, to lead 8-4.

The Celtics put an end to the run when Tatum attacked the basket and threw down this thunderous dunk.

That was the only highlight of the quarter for the Celtics. They shot 7-for-21 from the floor and committed four turnovers in what was a sloppy 12 minutes of basketball.

The Thunder went on a 16-5 run to go ahead 26-16 with a minute to play in the quarter. They led 26-18 at the buzzer. Steven Adams and George led OKC with eight points apiece. The Thunder shot just 36 percent overall and 1-for-6 on 3-point attempts but made up for it by hitting on seven of eight free throws.

CELTICS FIND THEIR GROOVE
The Celtics started the second quarter with a little more energy and forced the Thunder to take a quick timeout two minutes in. Tatum’s defense on this block led to a Celtics basket on the ensuing offensive possession.

The Celtics, led mostly by Tatum and Rozier, clawed within 36-34 with five minutes left in the half. Then, Rozier scored seven quick points as the C’s went ahead 41-40 with three minutes to play. The tide turned when Rozier entered the game at the 6:22 mark of the quarter.

OKC ultimately finished the quarter a little better than Boston and entered halftime with a 48-45 lead. George paced the Thunder with 13 points, while Adams and Westbrook both chipped in 10.

Morris and Tatum led the C’s with 11 points each. Tatum also hauled in a team-high six first-half rebounds. Boston as a team out-rebounded OKC 29-20 overall and 9-3 on the offensive glass.

BACK-AND-FORTH
The Celtics jumped ahead of the Thunder 55-52 with a 10-4 run to start the second half. Horford, who attempted just one shot in the first half, opened the third quarter by hitting two early 3-point field goals.

Tatum did a good job all game taking advantage of mismatches, including this one on Adams.

A 3-pointer by Tatum extended Boston’s run to 11-2 and increased its lead to 57-54 with half a quarter to play. But the Thunder fought back, and a quick seven-point burst by Westbrook put OKC up 71-64.

The Celtics trailed by nine at 75-66 with less than two minutes left in the quarter, but a quick 7-0 run, capped by a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Shane Larkin, trimmed the deficit to two at 75-73. Tatum led the C’s with 18 points through three quarters, while Westbrook paced OKC with 22.

CLOSING TIME
The Celtics and Thunder played pretty evenly to begin the fourth, with Boston tying the score 79-79 after an and-1 by Greg Monroe. George also committed his fifth foul on the play, but remained in the game.

Larkin put the C’s up 82-81 with a 3-pointer, giving him 13 points off the bench. The score remained that for a while before George hit a 3-pointer to put OKC back ahead with 3:30 left.

Anthony broke out of his slump to hit a 3-pointer of his own to increase the Thunder lead to 87-82. Tatum answered with a 3-pointer, and then Anthony hit another one for a 90-85 OKC advantage. The basket also gave Tatum his first 20-point, 10-rebound game.

Corey Brewer then splashed another 3-point shot for OKC, who closed the game on fire from beyond the arc.

While it appeared the Thunder were destined for victory, they struggled late at the free throw line giving the C’s a chance to steal a win.

Rozier banged a trey to cut the lead to two with 12.7 seconds left. After Anthony missed a pair of free throws, the C’s had a chance to tie or win with 7.7 seconds remaining, and Morris hit a 3-pointer to put Boston in front 100-99 with 1.2 seconds remaining.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT
Rozier with the slam.

UP NEXT
The Celtics begin a road trip Friday night in Portland against the Trail Blazers. Tip-off is scheduled for 10 p.m. ET.

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports



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