Boston: 107.0 points/100 possessions (17th)
Oklahoma City: 107.4 points/100 possessions (14th)
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…
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
Like you even need me to explain.
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.
96-95 Celtics. Why? Because someone has to win this toss up.