Celtics hope to right ship against reeling Thunder

NBA Basketball

The Boston Celtics are in the middle of their first losing streak in nearly a month — the same amount of time the Oklahoma City Thunder haven’t won a single game.

One team will get back on track when the two face off in Boston on Tuesday night. The Celtics have dropped two straight, while the Thunder are a defeat away from a franchise-record 15 consecutive losses.

Oklahoma City’s skid was extended with a 121-90 rout by the 76ers at Philadelphia on Monday night. The setback tied the team with the 2008-09 Thunder, who lost 14 straight early in what was their inaugural season.

“When the scoreboard’s on, we’re competing and the guys want to win,” said Thunder coach Mark Daigneault. “I’ve never gone in the locker room after a loss and seen an apathetic group, and that’s a good thing. It should hurt, and we should be disappointed. That’s a part of competition.

“As for the losing streak, as we have been all year, we’re gonna be focused on progress, we’re gonna be focused on growth, and we’re gonna learn from every experience.”

Oklahoma City never led in Monday’s contest and was down by as much as 37 midway through the fourth quarter. Ty Jerome led with 22 points off the bench, while the starting five combined for 22 of the team’s 29 turnovers.

The Thunder (20-41) haven’t won a game since March 31.

On that same day, Boston fell to the Dallas Mavericks at home for its second consecutive defeat. The team dropped two games below .500. The Celtics responded with nine wins in 11 games, but losses at Brooklyn and Charlotte in its last two have the club on shaky ground as it looks to avoid participating in the Eastern Conference’s play-in tournament.

The Celtics (32-29) have caught the injury bug of late, with All-Star forward Jayson Tatum (left ankle impingement) and guard Kemba Walker (left side strain) each out Tuesday. Robert Williams III (left knee soreness) is questionable after missing six straight games.

“It’s going to take everybody,” said Walker of righting the ship after a 125-104 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday. “… We just got to go out and do it. We have been playing well. Tonight we just took a step back, and we just got to figure out a way to get back on track.”

Jaylen Brown had 20 points after missing two consecutive games with a shoulder injury.

“I think that it’s wise to move forward,” he said. “I think the last few weeks we have played extremely well, and maybe this game is being held to our past because we’ve been up and down in the past.”

Tuesday’s contest marks the start of a four-game homestand for the Celtics that includes a key rematch with the Hornets on Wednesday. Boston plays six of its final 11 at home.

After Tuesday, the Thunder will return home for four straight games beginning Thursday against the New Orleans Pelicans.

Boston beat Oklahoma City 111-94 on the road on March 27.

–Field Level Media

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