Boston Celtics defeat Oklahoma City Thunder, 92-83

OKLAHOMA CITY — Shaquille O’Neal missed all three of the Celtics’ games last week, and coach Doc Rivers had no expectation that the 38-year-old big man would make the four-game road trip that started last night against the Thunder.

Then, he saw the 7-footer board the plane.

“I don’t even ask. I never do. If he’s healthy, he comes. If he’s not, he doesn’t,’’ Rivers said. “If he thinks he has a chance to play — and that’s between him and [trainer] Eddie [Lacerte], then...

OKLAHOMA CITY — In a blink, the Celtics went from kicking their feet up with a 22-point second-half lead to being in the middle of an NCAA Tournament game.

This was the Oklahoma City team that was easily the league’s popularity contest winner with the scoring champion/prom king Kevin Durant as the Thunder’s frontman, and the team that seemed like almost everyone’s preseason pick to shake up the West. The Celtics’ defense affected them to the point that they shot just 38...

OKLAHOMA CITY — He sits on the Celtics bench before the game, taking it all in. Semih Erden watches his teammates play one-on-one while a horde of Celtics fans, even here in Oklahoma City, screams out the names of its favorite players.

They don’t scream Erden’s name. They don’t know who he is. And he really doesn’t know much about life in America yet, other than he likes steak. He smiles when you bring up steak.

Erden is playing his first NBA season after spending th...