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Game 74/82: Celtics’s (47-26) vs. Thunder (45-28)

 

Oklahoma City at Boston
7:00 p.m. EST
TD Bank Garden
CSN/WEEI

Offensive Efficiency:

Boston: 107.0 points/100 possessions (17th)

Oklahoma City: 107.4 points/100 possessions (14th)

Defensive Efficiency:

Boston: 102.4 points allowed/100 possessions (1st).

Oklahoma City: 103.4 points allowed/100 possessions (6th)

Probable Oklahoma City starters:

Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic, Thabo Sefolosha

Thumbnail: The Thunder are coming off an easy win last night against Philadelphia.  Kevin Durant had yet another game where he scored over 25 points and Russell Westbrook made up for a bad shooting night by dishing out 14 assists.  On the flip-side, Boston is coming off a blowout loss to San Antonio where the club’s first place defense was shredded by Manu Ginobli.  The Celtics will have their hands full tonight as they try to contain the match-up nightmare that is Durantula.

WHAT THE THUNDER DO WELL

Take Care of the Ball

The Thunder only turn the ball over 14 times per 100 possessions.  This is a bit surprising for a team as young as the Thunder.  One would think that given the scorers on their roster, the lack of turnovers would stem from the ball always going in the bucket, however that is not the case.    Surprisingly, the Thunder’s effective field goal percentage it not one of their strong suits.  Green and company make up for the poor effective field goal percentage by staying active on the glass- which brings me to my next point…

Offensive Rebounding

The Thunder have a myriad of athletic big man who are very active on the glass.  Serge Ibaka, Nick Collison, Nenad Kristic, and Jeff Green are all capable of pulling down double-digit boards and will do so if allowed.  The Thunder on average snag 28% of available offensive rebounds.  That’s like playing a team with a front line of Anderson Varejao’s, which would most assuredly give the Celtics problems.

WHAT THE THUNDER DO NOT DO WELL

Effective Field Goal Percentage

The Thunder are only a shade over 41% from the field per 100 possessions, which is well under league average.  These facts do not seem to faze Durant or Westbrook as they remain as offensively aggressive as always despite some poor shooting nights. this season  Luckily for the Thunder, they have the ability to shoot themselves right back in to a game.  Luckily for the C’s, they often end up shooting themselves out.

Three Point Attempts and Percentage

This is a team that does not shoot a lot of threes (1070, good for 25th in the league) so unsurprisingly, they do not make a lot them.  I wrote preview for a Celtics v. Thunder game earlier in the season and I mentioned that picking up a free agent like Ray Allen could make the Thunder devastating next year.  This is all too true given the fact that the Thunder have been able to sustain their solid play for a full season and do not really have an offensively-minded shooting guard on the roster- that is assuming you are assuming James Harden is a small forward (you are assuming that right?).

PLAYERS WHO WORRY ME

Kevin Durant

Like you even need me to explain.

Nenad Krstic

The only reason being that he shoots 45% from anywhere mid-range and a hobbled Perkins and a chubby Wallace are not going to contest that hard.

PLAYERS WHO DO NOT WORRY ME

The PGs: Russell Westbrook and Eric Maynor

Not yet anyway.  Trust me, both of these guys could very well pan out to be absolute studs that have very long careers in this league.  For right now, their inconsistency is too consistent.  That being said, you can’t really fear them until you see how they are playing during a specific game.

WHAT WE WANT TO SEE FROM THE C’S

Just a solid effort. The season is winding down.  Pierce may not be playing.  Perkins may not be at full strength.  If I am the Celtics (which I am not, but I play one on TV) I am putting forth a solid effort, running some sets, and getting comfortable with the guys I will be relying on come playoff time.  I am not breaking any hips in tonight’s game.

Prediction

96-95 Celtics. Why?  Because someone has to win this toss up.

  • pnt

    What’s with the ancient picture of Durant?

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    I miss those Seattle jerseys.

  • Brendan Jackson

    Isn’t it awesome? We here at CelticsHub love to use old/ funny/ ironic pictures for our previews.

  • Ann Nonymous

    Old/funny/ironic… just like the Celtics roster…

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    Looking forward to watching the darantula in action. With truth out, its time for TA or Quis to decide who will get the PT in the playoffs.

  • Brendan Jackson

    Bah Zing!

    Interesting name Ann, it’s quite lovely. Is that Latin?

  • Conall Mac Michael

    Zingers comin from left right and centre, lets cool it guys. Overall Brendan is right, I’d be perfectly happy just seeing a good solid effort from the lads tonight. Lets Go.

  • Sammy

    Why would you assume Harden to be a SF? He plays the vast majority of his minutes at the two. Very occasionally Brooks will go small with a Maynor/Westbrook/Harden lineup but not that often.

    The Thunder have a poor eFG, but their TS is smack dab in the middle of the league, helped in large part to Durant’s stellar 60TS%

    Excited about the Westbrook/Rondo duel.

  • CF

    Surprised to see Westbrook get downplayed. I think the Westbrook/Rondo match-up should be a great one, between somewhat similar players. But I’m biased cuz I roll with both of them on my fantasy roster.

  • Sammy

    @CF,
    Indeed. Rondo and Westbrook are extremely similar. Lightning quick, great rebounders for their position, limited range. Westbrook doesn’t yet have Rondo’s polish. RW’s got the tools but not yet the consistent effort on defense, his assist% and A:T are closing in but still not quite there, and RW gets to the rim with ease but has trouble finishing once there. That said, RW is only in his second year and I’d take his upside over Rondo’s because once RW learns to finish he could easily average 20/9/4.

    Westbrook’s fallen off a bit over last few weeks but nonetheless OKC fans are all ecstatic by the progress RW has made as a playmaker. There was a lot of chatter over the summer that RW would never acquire the necessary skills to run the team and that OKC should draft Rubio and move RW to 2. He’s pretty well shut all of us up this year, and we couldn’t be happier.

  • I love Green

    Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh diss by Ann! And the Re diss by Brendan! bop bop! bop bop!

    Durant, Westbrook dominate, howeva Quis and Ray have a big game while Garnett and Rondo have solid games. C’s barely come through 102-98.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    I would just like to see a team which really cares for 4 quarters. I would rather see a weird line up of 5 guys giving it their all than the usual 2 guards 2 forwards 1 center. Some technicals from a passion to win would be nice.

  • Micah

    Hey Brendan the first quarter just ended and Westbrook has 11 points on 5/8 shooting he is shredding our defense…what a time for him to actually be consistent…lol

  • Dan

    This Rondo/Westbrook matchup is everything I hoped for so far. Westbrook’s upside is ridiculous, I’m glad he’s starting to get more respect as just as important a piece as KD.

  • DeVelaine

    Mike Gorman just made a reference to OKC playing like this is a playoff game. That just made me think about how insane that would be as a 7-game series. That would be epic fun to watch.

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  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    Sheed just worked his ass off for an offensive rebound. This happened, I swear. 8:02 mark of the 3rd.

  • charlie

    i practically peed witnessing that offensive board. sheed is putting in work.

  • Dan

    And making his 3′s too! Crazy.

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    Tough loss. The C’s wanted this one.

  • Jrmz

    sigh another loss. we needed those 3s at the end but never got em. least we actually showed some effort today. as for the thunder, they look real strong..stronger than the lakers look in fact.

  • I love Green

    For some reason this loss pisses me off like no other. Just really really really pisses me off. Rasheed had a great game but missed that wide open 3 near the end. Ray Allen missed TWO wide open threes. TWO!! that doesn’t happen!

    Oh my god I’m so pissed right now. Please start the playoffs now! Don’t make us play the Cavs or Bucks again. Im so sick of this shit

  • I love Green

    Oh yeah the Thunger were coming off a back to back too!

  • http://celticshub.com Stephen

    It is over!!! Let’s see–We finally get a good game from Rasheed and it goes to waste. We shoot 71% in the first half yet leave the court with a slim lead. Kevin Durant tourches us and not 1 appearance from Tony Allen the entire night. Look at the disparity in free throw attempts. Can the C’s play D any more without reaching out and grabbing ? I’m finished with these losers–writing off the year–2 years ago Doc Rivers had it easy when everything was going well– This year, when things aren’t quite so simple he is failing miserably–He has lost the pulse of this team and is too big a pansy to get in his players faces when it is necessary. He’s an overrated coach and always has been. This team has no gonads–and that’s on Rivers. I’ve had it with this teams lack of focus and if Rivers isn’t replaced prior to next season– I promise all C’s fans, if you think this has been a long year just wait until next year!!! Got to go now and attempt to repair another piece of broken furniture in this place. That’s if I have any left!!!

  • ThatGuy

    Amen.

  • I love Green

    Im still really pissed. Just cannot cool down. I wish it was Final Four time damnit. That would take my mind off this fucking team.

  • Steve

    Why did Pierce only shoot 4 times in the second half? I just don’t get this team. Things are just way too spread out offensively. You can’t have Pierce leading the team in minutes and take the fewest shots except for Perkins.

    That possession near the end of the game when they inbounded with 8 seconds left on the shot clock killed me. Why did the ball go to Rondo? Time and time again, he goes into isolation mode in that situation and you end up having one of the worst jump shooters in the league taking a shot off the dribble. It’s beyond stupid. I’m glad they stopped going less frequently to Rondo isolations at the end of quarters. Before Rondo started taking more jumpers, I swear half of his attempted jumpers were at the end of quarters isolated from 17 feet.

    My other question, when are Garnett’s minutes going to be ramped up? He hasn’t even played 12 straight minutes all year. The time to have increased his minutes gradually was a long time ago. Are they going to do it like one time down the stretch and say, “Okay, that’s enough. We’ll do the rest in the postseason.” In the playoffs, starters routinely go 40 plus. The Celtics are going be at an disadvantage if they can only go regular season mode with Garnett and play him for only 33 minutes or so. And what about integrating the Finley and Robinson with the starters more? It’s like another Cassell situation all over again. Cassell only started to play after Doc started resting the starters and the voila, come playoff time, Cassell is the backup point guard from game 1 with very limited time spent playing with Pierce and Allen. Yeah, that worked out well.

  • http://celticshub.com Stephen

    –I Love Green—- Feel the same way, having trouble cooling off myself–In answer to Steve’s question as to why Rondo is shooting jump shots during key posessions, it’s simple!!!—-Like I said earlier this ship has no Captain–That’s on Doc Rivers– Until he takes control and stops being so F****ng star-struck nothing is going to change. A coach isn’t on the court executing the plays, however a good coach puts his team in the best position to suceed. Rivers doesn’t do that—–Ever!!!! — He doesn;t even understand that substitution patterns sometimes need to be altered depending on the situation. NBA games are not always decided within the last couple of minutes–Sometimes momentum switches earlier in the game dictate that the coach needs to do things differently or the game is lost. An Example— How many times has Rivers left KG on the bench for too long while the C’s Defense is falling apart. Too many– and by the time he brings him back in it;s too late. News flash to that Moron Rivers–were 75 F****ng games into the season–If KG isn’t ready to go 35 minutes a game now–how in the hell is he going to be ready come playoff time. Get a clue Doc—you stupid Dumbass!!!!

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