OKLAHOMA CITY – Kyrie Irving was overthinking how to fit in.
He missed last season’s playoffs after left knee surgery, and because the Boston Celtics reached the Eastern Conference finals without him, he was cautious when he returned this season.
Once he relaxed and started having fun, everything flowed.
Jayson Tatum scored 24 points, Irving had 15 points and five assists, and the Celtics rallied from a 16-point halftime deficit to beat the winless Oklahoma City Thunder 101-95 on Thursday night.
“When we’re not on the same page, we’re very, very bad,” Irving said. “I think we want to err on the side of being one and being together and playing well together. It’s just a lot better basketball that way. And it starts with me, too.”
Marcus Morris added 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Al Horford added 19 points for Boston. Morris hit a 3-pointer with 27 seconds left to give the Celtics a 98-95 lead, and they held on.
Paul George scored 22 points for Oklahoma City, but shot just 7 of 22. Russell Westbrook had 13 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists, but he shot 5 for 20.
Oklahoma City led 50-34 at halftime. Boston shot just 32 percent in the first half and missed all 11 of its 3-point attempts.
The Celtics hit seven of their first 10 3-pointers in the third quarter to trim Oklahoma City’s lead to 70-64. At one point, Horford hit three 3-pointers in 41 seconds.
“It felt really good,” Horford said. “Before the second quarter ended, Kyrie looked at me and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got to set the tone. We have to be more aggressive.’ He was right. We started in the third (quarter) and I tried to do my part and just play with more freedom out there.”
Pistons 110, Cavaliers 103
In Detroit, Andre Drummond had 26 points and 22 rebounds, and the Pistons improved to 4-0 and dropped Cleveland to 0-6 for the first time since 2003-04 — when LeBron James was a rookie.
Blake Griffin scored 26 points in his first game since a 50-point night against Philadelphia on Tuesday. Reggie Jackson added 16 points.
Kyle Korver led the Cavaliers with 21 points. Kevin Love missed the game because of a sore left foot.
Lakers 121, Nuggets 111
In Los Angeles, LeBron James had 28 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds while leading the Lakers’ late rally for his first home victory at Staples Center, over previously unbeaten Denver.
Trail Blazers 128, Magic 114
In Orlando, Damian Lillard scored 34 of his 41 points in the second half to help Portland beat the Magic.