Marcus Morris’ 3 Leads Kyrie Irving-Less Celtics Past Russell Westbrook, Thunder

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 20: Marcus Morris #13 of the Boston Celtics shoots the ball against the Oklahoma City Thunder on March 20, 2018 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

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Aesthetics aren’t of the utmost importance to the Boston Celtics (48-23) at the moment. Instead, their focus has shifted to grinding out wins by any means possible with Kyrie Irving (sore left knee), Jaylen Brown (concussion) and Marcus Smart (thumb) all on the shelf.

On Tuesday night, they did just that.

Matched up against the red-hot Oklahoma City Thunder (43-30), Boston overcame early offensive struggles, caught fire late and emerged with a 100-99 win at TD Garden behind Marcus Morris’ game-winning three-pointer with 1.2 seconds remaining in regulation.

The loss snapped the Thunder’s six-game winning streak, and it could have been avoided had they made their free throws down the stretch.

Russell Westbrook (27 points, eight rebounds, seven assists) split a pair with a chance to put the Thunder up six with 16.8 seconds remaining, and Terry Rozier’s three on the ensuing trip down the floor trimmed OKC’s lead to two.

Carmelo Anthony (13 points) then had a chance to ice things at the charity stripe with 8.4 seconds left after hitting two clutch threes in crunch time, but he missed both attempts and sent the Thunder tumbling to an unprecedented collapse, according to ESPN Stats & Info:

The Celtics, though, deserve credit for the way they clawed back.

Not only did Morris (21 points) come up huge, but Jayson Tatum enjoyed one of his finest performances to date. In 35 minutes, the No. 3 overall pick finished with a team-high 23 points (8-of-12 shooting), 11 rebounds and four assists for his first 20-10 game as a pro.

He also came up with a series of timely buckets, including a jumper that kept the Celtics within four with 17.6 seconds to go and a deep step-back triple over Corey Brewer a couple of minutes earlier:

“We’re going to keep throwing him to the wolves and giving him the ball in those moments,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said after the win, according to MassLive.com’s Jay King.

Tatum, Morris and the rest of Boston’s unsung heroes will now set out on a four-game road trip that begins Friday at Moda Center against the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Thunder—who own the NBA‘s toughest remaining strength of schedule, per Tankathon—will also be back in action Friday when they host the Miami Heat at Chesapeake Energy Arena in hopes of stabilizing their postseason aspirations.