BOSTON (AP) — Kevin Durant scored 37 points, Jeff Green hit two 3-pointers in the last two minutes and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Boston Celtics 109-104 Wednesday night.
Russell Westbrook added 21 points and 10 assists in the Thunder’s 46th victory of the season, doubling their total for all last season as they remained in sixth place in the Western Conference.
The Celtics fell out of a third-place tie in the East with the Atlanta Hawks, who beat the Los Angeles Lakers 109-92.
Green, whose draft rights were traded by the Celtics when they picked up Ray Allen after the 2006-07 season, gave the Thunder a 105-101 lead with a 3-pointer with 1:56 to go. Then he connected again with 1:22 left for a 108-104 advantage to finish with 17 points.
Boston was led by Kevin Garnett and Rasheed Wallace with 18 points each.
Oklahoma City, which entered the game with the NBA’s sixth-best road record, improved to 21-15 away from home. Boston fell to 23-14 at home, worse than its 24-13 road record.
The Celtics were having one of their best shooting nights of the season and Wallace had made both his 3-point attempts. But then he missed with 1:11 to play, keeping the Thunder’s lead at 108-104. Four more misses followed — a jumper by Durant, a layup by Boston’s Paul Pierce, a 3-pointer by Westbrook, and a jumper by Allen with 9.1 seconds to play.
Thabo Sefolosha finished the scoring with a free throw with 6.9 second remaining.
Despite the loss, it was quite a change from the Celtics’ last game, a 94-73 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night in which Boston lost by its biggest margin and scored its fewest points of the season.
On Wednesday, the Celtics led 61-57 after a tight first half in which the lead changed hands 16 times. The margin was just four points despite one of their best offensive quarters of the season. In the second period, the Celtics hit 17 of 20 shots (85 percent) and tied their season high for a quarter with 38 points.
Boston made its first two shots of the third quarter, boosting its marksmanship to 29 of 40, a 72.5 percent clip, but couldn’t pull away. Oklahoma City went ahead 83-81, its first lead of the quarter, on Durant’s two free throws with 4.2 seconds to go. Then Rajon Rondo tied it with a driving layup at the buzzer.
NOTES: Durant scored at least 30 points for the 40th time in 74 games. … Boston C Kendrick Perkins returned after missing two games with tendinitis in his left knee. … Pierce had 15 points in 37 minutes after aggravating a “stinger” in his right shoulder during practice Tuesday. … The Thunder capitalized on nine Celtics turnovers to score 10 of their 30 points in the first quarter. … Durant made all 15 of his free throws. … Oklahoma City broke a seven-game losing streak against Boston.