Boston: 105.7 points/100 possessions (17th)
Oklahoma City: 105.9 points/100 possessions (16th)
Boston: 99.3 points allowed/100 possessions (3rd)
Oklahoma City: 110.7 points allowed/100 possessions (27th)
Probable Oklahoma starters:
Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha, Nenad Krstic
Thumbnail: The Celtics face their second toughest challenge this season as they take on a very good Oklahoma City team. The Thunder are a young team that can really fill it up when they need to.
WHAT THE THUNDER DO WELL:
- Matchup. The Thunder are a matchup nightmare for any NBA team that is traditionally put together. Kevin Durant at 6’10” starts at small forward and Russell Westbrook is on the taller side for point guards at 6’4″. They are also as athletic as they are talented. They can outrun and outjump any team out of the gym, especially an order team like the Cs.
WHAT THE THUNDER DO POORLY:
- Shoot the Three Ball. The Thunder added shooters Morris Peterson and Daequan Cook this offseason and neither has produced much of anything. Peterson has to yet to play and Cook has gone 3-for-13. Why Cook has a job in the NBA is beyond me. No one on the Thunder roster is shooting over 29% from deep this season.
PLAYER(S) WHO MAKE ME WORRY:
- Kevin Durant. How could he not worry you? He’s still scoring the ball as prolifically as ever but this year he has also made a concerted effort to rebound the basketball averaging 6.1 boards a game.
- Russell Westbrook. On Friday, Rajon Rondo battled Derrick Rose on his way to point guard supremacy. Tonight he takes on Russell Westbrook, the guy who arguably beat out Rondo for the final Team USA roster spot. Westbrook has upped his scoring from last season averaging 22 points and 6 assists.
PLAYER(S) WHO DO NOT MAKE ME WORRY:
- Thabo Sefolosha. For as good as this guy is offensively, he is just a “missing person” on the offensive end. Right now, he’s shooting .333 from the field this season and has the lowest TS% (39.5%) for any shooting guard who plays at least 20 minutes a game (HoopData).
WHAT WE WAN TO SEE FROM BOSTON TONIGHT:
- Hold on to a lead: Presuming the Celtics lead at some point in this game they need to show that they can hold on to it. Giving up leads was commonplace last season for the Celtics and they have let their opponents force overtime twice this season. The season may be young, but the Celtics cannot continue to keep piling on the minutes. They have shown that they want to win these games but with a better/deeper bench the Celtics should be able to put teams away when they have a lead.
The Thunder are not as good on the defensive end as they were last year. Despite addressing their needs at the two guard position in the offseason, they have been worse from outside. I expect the Celtics to exploit these weaknesses in a tight one. Celtics 100, Thunder 95
(All Numbers Taken from Basketball-reference.com)
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