BOSTON — Russell Westbrook scored 26 points, hitting a pair of 3-pointers in the final 91 seconds on Monday night to help the Oklahoma City Thunder pull away from Boston and beat the slumping Celtics 97-88.
Kevin Durant scored 28 with seven rebounds for the Thunder, who won their seventh consecutive game. Thabo Sefolosha scored 12 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter, and Kendrick Perkins had seven points and five rebounds in his first game back in Boston since the trade that sent him to Oklahoma City and broke up the starting lineup from the Celtics’ 2008 NBA championship team.
Paul Pierce scored 24 points, Kevin Garnett had 12 points and 12 rebounds and Jermaine O’Neal had 12 points and 11 boards for the Celtics. Rajon Rondo scored 12 points with nine rebounds and nine assists for Boston, which lost its fifth straight game for the first time in the New Big 3 era.
Perkins went over to the Celtics bench before the opening tip to hug the coaches and chest-bump some of his former teammates, and midway through the first quarter a video tribute was played on the scoreboard. The crowd gave him a standing ovation, which Perkins acknowledged by walking to center court alone and waving.
Durant had a tomahawk slam to give the Thunder an 83-78 lead, but Boston cut the deficit to 83-80 with 2:25 to play. Westbrook cut across the lane and whipped a two-handed pass to Sefolosha in the corner for the 3. After Rondo scored on a putback, Westbrook hit a 3-pointer of his own — then celebrated by strutting down the sideline.
After Garnett hit Mickael Pietrus to set up a Celtics 3-pointer, Westbrook answered again to make it 92-85. The Thunder went just 2 of 11 from 3-point range in the first three quarters, but 5 of 8 in the fourth.
The Celtics had not had a five-game losing streak since they lost seven straight and eight of the last nine games of the 2006-07 season, a year when they also had an 18-game losing streak that was the longest in franchise history. That summer they began assembling the New Big 3, bringing in Garnett and Ray Allen to join Pierce — and Rondo and Perkins.
Perkins was the starting center on the team that won the championship in 2008. But when the Celtics returned to the finals in 2010, Perkins injured his knee in Game 6 against the Lakers and missed Game 7, which Los Angeles won 83-79.
With Perkins’ rehabilitation due to last well into the following season, general manager Danny Ainge signed Shaquille O’Neal and Jermaine O’Neal. Confident that they would remain healthy contributors, Ainge traded Perkins to Oklahoma City for Nenad Krstic and Jeff Green, but neither of them was able to remain in the lineup and the Celtics lost in the second round of the playoffs to Miami.
The trade looked even worse when Green was diagnosed with an aortic aneurysm, requiring surgery that put him out for this entire season. He is now a free agent.
The Thunder led most of the first half, including a 10-point lead early in the second quarter and a 46-39 advantage at the half. Pierce, who scored Boston’s last six points in the second quarter, scored three more quick baskets early in the third, and back-to-back-layups by Jermaine O’Neal left it tied 57-all with 5 minutes left in the third.
It was 65-62 when Oklahoma City scored the last seven points of the quarter to make it a 10-point game.
Notes: New England Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty and receiver Julian Edelman took time off from their preparations for the AFC championship to attend the game. … The teams split their games last year, each winning on the road. Durant missed the game in Boston with a sore left ankle. … Thunder guard Reggie Jackson played at Boston College.
76ers 94, Bucks 82
PHILADELPHIA — Jrue Holiday scored 24 points and Andre Iguodala had 21 to help the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Milwaukee Bucks 94-82 on Monday and remain unbeaten at home.
The Sixers have won three straight, nine of 10 overall and already hold a four-game lead over the second-place New York Knicks in the Atlantic Division. Philadelphia is also 6-0 at home.
Iguodala went 9 of 14 from the floor hours after he was chosen as part of the 20-player men’s Olympic basketball pool. Known as a lockdown defender, he surprised Tobias Harris with a block from behind late in the third.
Spencer Hawes, their 7-foot-1 center, buried his first two 3-pointers of the season in the third.
Andrew Bogut returned from concussion-like symptoms to lead the Bucks with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
Magic 102, Knicks 93
NEW YORK — Ryan Anderson scored a career-high 30 points, extending his NBA lead with seven 3-pointers, and Orlando completed a perfect four-game road trip.
Taking advantage of extra space as the Knicks focused on Dwight Howard, Anderson went 7 of 13 behind the arc and is now 40 of 93 for the season.
JJ Redick added 21 points for the Magic, who won three games on the West Coast before finishing in New York and will play at home the next two nights to wrap up a stretch of three games in three nights.
Howard was in foul trouble and finished with eight points and 10 rebounds.
Carmelo Anthony had 33 points and eight rebounds for the Knicks in his return from a one-game absence with a sprained right ankle, but shot just 9 of 27.
Clippers 101, Nets 91
LOS ANGELES — Blake Griffin had 23 points and 14 rebounds and the Clippers beat New Jersey without injured point guard Chris Paul after blowing an 18-point lead.
Trailing by 13 after a three-point play by Reggie Evans with 10 minutes remaining, the Nets tied it at 81 with 6:46 to play. But the Clippers outscored them 20-10 the rest of the way, as Chauncey Billups scored nine of his 20 points in the final 4:23 — including a clinching 3-pointer with 1:09 left.
It was the third straight victory for the Clippers, who never trailed en route to their sixth win in seven games following a pair of ego-inflating wins against the Miami Heat and the Lakers.
MarShon Brooks led New Jersey with 19 points and eight rebounds. Deron Williams finished with 14 points and six assists.
Grizzlies 102, Bulls 86
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Rudy Gay scored 24 points and Mike Conley added 20 points and eight assists to help Memphis end short-handed Chicago’s five-game winning streak.
The Bulls played without leading scorer Derrick Rose, who missed his second game in the last four with a left toe sprain.
Marc Gasol had 19 points and 10 rebounds while Marreese Speights finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds as Memphis extended its winning streak to three games. Gay was 11 of 18 from the field while Gasol and Conley both hit nine of their 13 shots.
Luol Deng led the Bulls with 20 points and C.J. Watson finished with 17 points. Taj Gibson had 16 points on 6 of 8 shooting. Carlos Boozer added 13 points and seven rebounds, but was 5 of 12 from the field. The Bulls shot 42 percent to 54 percent for Memphis.