Doc Rivers called it earlier this week. Yes, the Celtics were winning games, and they were playing well, but they had not yet established that defensive identity that has been their trademark the last few years.



PAUL FLANNERY

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In just his second game back, Delonte West took a leadership role after a surprising 89-84 home-court loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, who were playing without injured superstar Kevin Durant. 

 

"This team didn't even have to play with desperation to beat us tonight," West said of the Thunder. "That's one of our biggest concerns this year, being complacent, doing what we did tonight."

 

Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo sustained a strained left hamstring with just over six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of Friday's 89-84 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder at TD Garden.

 

Just moments after picking up his fifth foul, Rondo fell to the floor and didn't get up immediately while holding his left leg. Trainer Ed Lacerte came onto the court and gave him treatment. Rondo stayed in the game following a 20-second timeout but eventually left a minute later for Delonte West while team trainers stretched out his left leg on the sideline. 

Russell Westbrook scored 31 points and hit two clutch free throws with 13.4 seconds remaining as the Oklahoma City Thunder - playing without an injured Kevin Durant - handed the Celtics their first home court loss this season, 89-84, Friday night at TD Garden. It was a sloppy ending as neither team converted a field goal in the last 9:20 of the fourth quarter. 

 

With an injured ankle sidelining Durant, the Thunder not only managed to stay close, they took control in the second quarter, outrebounding the Celtics, 13-6, to take a 49-46 halftime lead. 

Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant is listed as "questionable" for tonight's game against the Celtics at TD Garden, but Oklahoman beat writer Darnell Mayberry wrote that "Durant doesn't seem likely to play." Durant suffered a spraned ankle Wednesday against the Rockets. Durant played through it, but said that it got worse as the game went on.

 

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge made his weekly appearance on The Big Show Thursday. Ainge was first asked about Greg Oden, who will will undergo microfracture surgery on his left knee Friday and miss the rest of the season. Oden -- the first pick of the 2007 NBA Draft -- has played in just 82 regular-season games in his career. Many thought that the Celtics would have selected Oden if they had landed the top pick in the 2007 draft lottery.

 

Jeff Van Gundy, who provides analysis for NBA games on ESPN and ABC, joined The Big Show Thursday to talk about the early-season struggles of the Miami Heat. It was Van Gundy in August who claimed that the Heat would have "a great chance" to break the 1996 Chicago Bulls record of 72 wins in a season. With the Heat at 7-4, Van Gundy is willing to reconsider his offseason prediction.

 

Wednesday night's Celtics-Wizards game drew a 7.4 rating, making it the most watched regular-season broadcast ever on Comcast Sports Net, according to a tweet from the Celtics. The C's rolled to a 114-83 victory.

 

For more Celtics news, visit the team page at weei.com/celtics.

Celtics forward Kevin Garnett joined the Dale & Holley show Thursday morning to talk about his resurgence this season. Garnett has returned to form after struggling for much of last season following knee surgery in May 2009.

 

Talking during his weekly radio appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said that center Jermaine O'Neal will be able to offer some value to the team after taking time to rest and rehab his injured knee.