Oklahoma City at Boston
Celtics: 55-19 (29-6 at home); Off. Efficiency 110.4 (4th); Def. Efficiency 101.6 (1st)
Thunder: 20-52 (6-29 on road); Off. Efficiency 103.2 (28th); Def. Efficiency 109.2 (20th)
Season Series: 2nd of 2 meetings. Boston leads 1-0
November 5th: BOS 96 OKC 83
Celtics: OUT: Leon Powe (knee), Tony Allen (thumb), Brian Scalabrine (concussions) Kevin Garnett (knee) QUESTIONABLE: Rajon Rondo (ankle)
Thunder: OUT: Desmond Mason (knee)
The Thunder, accompanied by a day of rain ironically have arrived in town to face off with the C’s this evening. This Oklahoma City team is an interesting glimpse into what might have been for this Celtics franchise with Kevin Durant and Jeff Green leading the way for young squad that is loaded with potential.
Despite the Thunder’s shoddy record that leaves them in the cellar of the Western Conference, they have been playing better lately, going 7-7 in their last 14 games under interim coach Scott Brooks. A couple quality wins over San Antonio and Dallas have come during this stretch so this is a team that is on its way to putting it together.
To be honest, they remind me a lot of Memphis since they have a lot of extremely young talent that need some seasoning and time playing together. I would argue the Thunder’s future is brighter than the Grizzlies simply because of Kevin Durant. Marc Spears had a great piece on the 2nd year star who has really taken a great step forward once P.J. Carlesimo was fired. He ranks 4th in the league in scoring with 25.8 points/game and is shooting over 42 percent from 3 point range.
Those numbers are scary for the 6’9” forward especially considering the fact he is only 20 years old. Combine that with a strong young nucleas in Jeff Green, Russell Westbrook, Desmond Mason, and Nenad Kristic, plus 15 million dollars in cap room makes one believe this team should be a player in the Western Conference sooner rather than later.
For the time being however The Thunder have a long way to go. They have trouble putting the ball in the hoop, coming in dead last in the league in field goal efficiency. They also are the one team in the league that turn the ball over more than the Celtics. Actually when I consider that fact, we could be in for an extremely sloppy game here tonight at the Garden.
The Thunder’s defense is lacking as well, ranking in the bottom third of the league in defensive efficiency and other corresponding defensive categories. The Thunder, as a team really don’t do much well so unless Kevin Durant goes MJ on us, I don’t see a depleted Celtics team having much trouble against a young team that plays incredibly poor (6-29) on the road.