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Sports

March 11, 2013

Thunder stop streaking C's in defensive battle

OKLAHOMA CITY — In a reunion with his former Boston teammates, Kendrick Perkins and the Oklahoma City Thunder got just the kind of victory he enjoys most.

Kevin Durant had 23 points and 11 rebounds, Russell Westbrook scored 15 points and Thunder beat the Celtics 91-79 yesterday to stretch their winning streak to five games.

Boston was able to slow the Thunder from their best-in-the-NBA scoring pace of 107 points per game, but Oklahoma City’s lowest output since Jan. 13 was still enough to come out ahead in this one.

“I told the guys coming into this game that it’s going to be one of those low-scoring games, one of those nights that we have to grind out, so that’s what we did,” said Perkins, who won the 2008 NBA title with Boston. “Every night, we can’t go out and expect to put up 100 points and the score to be 120-100. Some nights, it’s going to be like this.”

The Thunder limited Boston to 25 percent shooting in the second half after the Celtics shot 51 percent in the first. Boston dropped off to 33 percent in the third quarter and all the way down to 18 percent in the fourth, when the game got away.

“We were bad all game offensively,” coach Doc Rivers said. “We were forcing things and offensively the ball stuck at times. Their length bothered us at times. Sometimes you want to win too bad, and that was us today.”

Oklahoma City used an 11-2 run at the start of the fourth quarter to close it out. The Celtics had pulled within 68-65 after three quarters before going without a basket for the first 5 minutes of the fourth, and they never could recover.

Paul Pierce had 20 points to lead Boston, which had its own run of five straight wins broken. Kevin Garnett chipped in 10 points and 11 rebounds.

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