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Game 12/66: Thunder (11-2) @ Celtics (4-7) Open Thread

 

Oklahoma City at Boston
8:00 PM
TD Garden
TNT/CSNNE

Offensive Efficiency:
Boston: 101.3 points/100 possessions (12th)
Oklahoma City: 106.7 points/100 possessions (2nd)

Defensive Efficiency:
Boston: 100.5 points/100 possessions (18th)  
Oklahoma City: 
102.2 points/100 possessions (24th)

Probable OKC Starters: Russell Westbrook (PG), Thabo Sefalosha (SG), Kevin Wayne Durant (SF), Serge Jonas Ibaka Ngobila  (PF), Kendrick Freaking Perkins (C)

View From The Opposing Bench: Daily Thunder

Kendrick Perkins’s impending return to Boston really drives home the fact that the real winner in all this was Perk himself. He left a declining superpower to sign a huge contract with what looks to be one of the top-three teams in basketball for the next five years. And nobody in Boston blames him for what happened–they feel sorry for him! He never had to awkwardly turn down a lowball offer from Danny Ainge in free agency and then apologize to Celtics fans for going to New York and saying “At the end of the day, this is a business.” Ainge bailed him out of all that! He’s going to get a very huge, very warm response from the crowd tonight, and that’s exactly what he deserves.

But after everyone claps, the baseline mop kids wipe up all the tears, and Perk commits a celebratory pregame technical foul, both teams will actually have to play each other.

PREGAME ANALYSIS

The Thunder have won six in a row and are basically everyone’s favorite team outside their own city. They’re a giant Vegas favorite to win the West. Mark Stein put them 3rd in his last Power Rankings. Those are official.

OKC gets all this pub because their offense is cooking like Walter White. They’re one tenth of a point behind Orlando for the league’s best offensive efficiency, and Kevin Durant was the leading scorer in nine of their thirteen games (Russell Westbrook in two). Do not expect that to change tomorrow! This offense is super-good right now. I’m trying not to remember that the Thunder beat the Celtics last year with Durant on the bench (and before swapping Kendrick Perkins for two players who aren’t on the Celtics anymore).

BUT

The Thunder are a little more vulnerable than you think. A little.

Their scoring differential is actually some pretty mediocre sauce: they’re beating teams by an average of 4.7 points per game, only 8th in the league, just a tenth of a point higher than Dallas. A lot of their wins have been close, notably this one.

But if their offense is so good, why isn’t their scoring differential bigger? Because their defense has been shaky like a Fribble so far. That’s not strength-of-schedule dragging them down, either. Only three of the 13 teams they’ve played so far are in the league’s top 10 offenses: Orlando (1), San Antonio (5), and Phoenix (10). They’ve drawn Memphis (27) twice.

Why do they give up so many points? Ironically, a big part of the problem appears to be…defensive rebounding! Ironic because many have attributed the Celtics’ problems in that department to the loss of Kendrick Perkins (including me, repeatedly). But the Thunder, even though they got rid of maybe the worst rebounding PF in the league (Jeff Green), have been even worse at defensive rebounding than the Celtics! It’s just a weird, crazy world.

What does all this mean for the Celtics? It means that if they can make a partial shift back to last season’s form, they can take this game. If they get their defense back to top-five level to cancel out the Thunder attack, run an efficient offense through Rajon Rondo to take advantage of the Thunder’s weak D, and be the best rebounding team on the floor? They’d have a very, very good chance of beating their first good team this season.

PREDICTION

Thunder 103, Celtics 100

  • Batman

    Lets not get embarrassed on national T.V! Huzzah!

    • janos

      Hi Batman! Big game tongiht I am so excite!

      • Batman

        I'm very excited too!
        Watching basketball all day waiting for this!

  • f5alcon

    Part of the thunder's poor differential is the bench is not holding big leads in blowouts. Were up 30 against the knicks but only a 12 point lead at the end, 27 points against spus but only 10 at the end.

    • Z Man

      agreed, I have seen it first hand, GO THUNDER!!

    • Mark

      Sounds like the Celtics of '08-'10. Not that concerning when you have young legs though.

  • Mark

    That you see this game as a 2 point loss for the Celtics shows optimism.

    Far more than I can muster at this point.

  • JoeAlvarez

    F5alcon is right, that differential is meaningless with Durant sitting out fourth quarter because he can. It’s the same reason he isn’t averaging 30+ a game. Whatever the case may be, let’s go Celtics! Hopefully the guys will feel the pressure not to lose a fifth straight on a national stage and bring it like we know they can!

  • janos

    Hi Haynes, is Janos
    Nice see you back make post here, weekend was not good one. This guy cover yours weekend shift make so anger, very dumb post of google fact? i was very disappoint.

    I am also disappoint your predict, when chip is down celtic will rise top. Nobody believes my team but i Celtics win tonight by do a defense exploit, win by 5, can you believe too??

    Thank you.

    PS Sorry for anger post I seen some peoples get mad me .

  • Banker

    The reason half are games are so close is because our second unit plays the whole 4th quarter. Because were blowing teams out in the first three. Its nice resting the starters in the 4th.

  • Banker

    THUNDAH UP!!!!!!

  • I_Love_Green

    Welcome back Perk!!

  • KEN YOUNG

    some say their too old — some say their offense stinks, some say garnett and pierce aren't getting it done, I say, bradley should never play, he STINKS. I also say, they cannot rebound the defense boards at all, the other team just rebounds their missed shots and keeps shooting and rebounding until the damn ball finally goes in — that's the real problem — I also think that in reality, STEIMSA is better than oneal, but that isn't saying much.

  • guest

    So I guess this losing streak is going to 5 tonight….Welcome back, Perk.

  • skeeds

    Ok, last 3 big games we played I went through a sixpack each to make it through the game. Tonight, I'm switching to wine. Just hope I don't end up finishing the whole bottle…

    GO C'S!

  • Chris from Danvers

    Keeping the fingers crossed. Not liking the ways things have been lately, but perhaps this will be a turn around game.

    Also, looking for more Steimsma and Moore tonight.

  • james patrick

    today is a sad day. it's a reminder of when it all went down hill. sure we're getting older. but i'd rather be losing with perkins instead of a bunch of people i'm not even familiar with.

    and how do you know perk wouldn't have come back?

  • I_Love_Green

    Gets harder and harder to watch each game.

  • I_Love_Green

    THESE TURNOVERS ARE SO BAD

  • skeeds

    So apparently, when JO has a double double, Bass has to go for 2 pts 1 rebound in 20 minutes…

    • ElRoz

      Bass was a 0 tonight…..BBD all over…maybe worse…where did Ray Allen go?

  • I_Love_Green

    Son of a bitch…

  • IBleedGreen

    COLD BLOODED THREE

  • IBleedGreen

    Dare I say Westbrook > Rondo?

    • Batman

      talent wise sure but i would rather have rondo

  • Batman

    These westbrook 3s are a fluke….hes a 22 percent shooter on the season
    This game wasn't terrible-we were close to winning until they went Super 3 on us

    • IBleedGreen

      At least he has the gut to take the shots. The ability to put up a shot any time anywhere is what the Celtics are dearly missing this season.

      • Batman

        but whats the point if hes gonna miss?
        Westbrook is a inefficient volume scorer-his shots fell today
        they haven't been falling recently and the only reason his team wins is cause they are stacked
        if he was on the C's we'd still be losing

      • hdavenport

        I can put up a shot anytime, anywhere.

        • IBleedGreen

          well, I mean create a shot for himself when the offense is stagnant. How many times do you see Rondo dribble at the top of the key then throw up a desperate shot before the shot clock expires? OKC is pretty much an one-on-one team with Durant, Westbrook and Harden all being able to create their own shots. And they're the best team in the league right now (record wise).

          • CelticsBIG3

            Actually I see KG doing that more often (passing off when the shot clock is near expiring, or waiting til he has to force up a jumpshot that has little chance of going in)

  • Chris from Danvers

    Ouch! Uggggghly.

  • skeeds

    And this, guys, is how you lose to a superior team. We didn't play awful, we played pretty decently for stretches. Pierce picked it up, our defense gave them some trouble. We won the boards, and the fast break points, our 2 biggest weaknesses.
    Yet we lost, because OKC is an elite team, and we're not.

    • IBleedGreen

      Agreed. If not for all the crazy 3s in the 4th Q, we actually could've won.

    • ripsonics

      you could also attribute the loss tonight to the lights out three point shooting at the end of the game by the thunder.. that is tough to overcome when a team hits four contested threes in a row.

      It'd be nice for this team to get a win and get some confidence back. We gotta find Ray Allen, and Pietrus may prove to be a valuable asset if we can get some wins under our belt and gather some momentum.

      Go C's

      • skeeds

        No man. I attribute the loss to the fact that we never got hold of the game. It'd be nice if they missed a couple of 3's and we made some in return. But bottom line is, they outplayed us throughout the game.

        • ripsonics

          i agree with you. I think part of it was definitely that we let it get out of hand. I think the other part that sucked was that they hit those threes at the end.

          Definitely let it get outta hand early, and dug ourselves a huge hole.

    • ElRoz

      come on…an elite team is one that goes into the finals or something…OKC is good, but an elite is usually one of top 3 teams – Chicago, Miami, Dallas…OKC is with the Lakers right now – very good, but not yet there.

      • Batman

        Dallas?!
        How is Dallas better than OKC?

      • skeeds

        Huh? They do have the best record in the league and the longest winning streak, don't they? In any way, if they're not top 3 they're top 4. The Lakers are nowhere near them right now.

        • IBleedGreen

          I would take Lakers over OKC in a 7 game series right now. The way Kobe is playing and the size of Lakers is too much.

          • skeeds

            yes, still, irrelevant to our argument. I'd take us over the Knicks in a 7 game series too, the Knicks are outplaying us right now though.

            on a sidenote, since we haven't seen OKC vs the Lakers yet, i'd take a wild guess that Westbrook and Durant might be the worst matchup for these Lakers, what with Fisher playing half the normal human speed, and "Metta World Peace" still on vacation…

  • skeeds

    in what way man? Westbrook is a mediocre passer at best. Everyone not named Pierce can only score off a pass on the Celtics. How on earth would we be better with Westbrook's 5 fewer assists per game?

    Oh, and his on ball defense is atrocious.

    • CelticsBIG3

      and his lebron james like game of chucking threes and throwing his body into people on drives to get cheap fouls. He plays totally out of control half the time

  • I_Love_Green

    Look at what happens when we run though!! My goodness its like night and day! Give Rondo 4 of Ray, Pierce, Pietrus, Bass, and KG and let him run run run.

  • High Rollers

    Worth fighting for.

  • Batman

    when was the last time Gino came out? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpC9x6iU-6Q

    • CelticsBIG3

      Preseason versus Toronto

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