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Game 7/82: Celtics (5-1) @ Thunder (3-2) Open Thread

 

Boston at Oklahoma City
7 P.M. ET
Ford Arena
CSN

Offensive Efficiency:
Boston: 105.7 points/100 possessions (17th)
Oklahoma City: 105.9 points/100 possessions (16th)

Defensive Efficiency:
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.

PREDICTION:
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)

  • Batman

    This is gonna be a tough one
    Wow i never knew Boston was only 1 spot worse than the Thunder for offense
    and Boston destroys them defensively
    But stats aren't everything
    Paul Pierce is gonna have his hands full
    While Jeff Green is athletic, he is short
    KG can easily dominate

  • complexity

    Hopefully this will be another great game. I'd be shocked if the C's didn't come in with some great chemistry after these last few OT games.

  • JP-

    I can see this as being one of the games where the Celtics don't show up at all. Young athletic team, Celts coming off back to back OTs, and on the road. They know they have the rest of the road trip. I hope they don't decide to coast in this one.

  • http://twitter.com/M_DeVelaine @M_DeVelaine

    Brendan spent too much time on his "worry" section. Durant just needs to be listed, really. Who doesn't he make worry that's not on his team?

    • TedL

      I was a little worried about Westbrook, but Rondo's handling him extremely well so far.

  • TedL

    Now that's the bench we've been hoping to see! Generally doing treat – isn't it a beautiful thing to watch Boston play when we're not turning the ball over? We're up even though we've missed a lot of makeable shots. Looks like a very winnable game – keep it up!

  • complexity

    Ray Ray!

  • TedL

    Damn. In the first half the Cs had 4 turnovers and the Thunder 12. Ain't the game a whole lot easier when you have a turnover advantage!

    • TedL

      Make it 13 TOs!

  • I_Love_Green

    Haha let the meltdown begin!

  • TedL

    Yikes – where did that lead go? Turnovers and missed shots that were very, very makeable.

  • KY Celts fan

    Now lets see if can hold onto that lead.

  • TedL

    Wow. The last time I watched OKC was in the playoffs last year. This was just a different team. A lot of bad mistakes, inconsistent effort, and really weak that they gave up in the last minute. Wonder how much Jeff Green's absence had to do with it.

    Not to take anything away from the Cs – tonight they beat a team that they should've beat.

  • complexity

    I Love Green, why are you always so pessimistic, it's the NBA.

    • I_Love_Green

      It happens every game. I never said they were going to lose, just that they were beginning the inevitable meltdown.

      • complexity

        I understand that. But do you really want to see them blow out every team by 20 points?

        • TedL

          Honestly? Yes. That would be awesome.

          • Tom W

            I'm with Ted. I'm not looking for degree of difficulty here.

  • LStrike

    9 points is a solid win on the road, especially AT Oklahoma, but we really let that lead go… A win is a win though, but we caught OKC at the right time, they're struggling.

  • Batman

    Make that 6-1!
    Good game, good effort from Rondo despite the injury.
    People who claim Westbrook outplayed him based on stats alone are wrong.
    Rondo was more efficient, and played less minutes
    Lets keep this streak going!
    9-1 when Delonte comes back!

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