Tip: 8pm Court: TD Garden Watch it: TNT Hear it: WEEI
Referees: Ron Garretson, Pat Fraher, Derek Richardson
|Record: 4-7 (3rd Atlantic, 9th East)||Record: 11-2 (1st Northwest 1st West)|
|At home: 3-3||On road: 5-1|
|Streak: Lost 4||Streak: Won 6|
|Buckets: Allen (17.5 ppg)||Buckets: Kevin Durant (25.8 ppg)|
|Boards: Garnett (7.1 rpg)||Boards: Durant (6.8 rpg)|
|Dimes: Rondo (10.1 apg)||Dimes: Russell Westbrook (5.5 apg)|
|For the Stat Geeks:||For the Stat Geeks:|
|Offensive Rating: 101.6 (19th NBA)||Offensive Rating: 109.2 (2nd NBA)|
|Defensive Rating: 104.1 (20th NBA)||Defensive Rating: 104.1 (19th NBA)|
|Pace: 88.5 (29th NBA)||Pace: 91.9 (16th NBA)|
The Celtics and Thunder split last year’s season series. Each time won on on the road.
Get it to: Paul Pierce
Pierce needs to get into the flow of the offense, and he’s not going to do it standing around. Plus, you have to either forced Kevin Durant to play some defense and try to wear him out a bit, or you take advantage of him backing off on D to get Pierce some better looks. Plus, maybe the crafty veteran can get Durant into some foul trouble.
Gotta stop: Russell Westbrook
I might just pick the opposing team’s point guard every time until the C’s figure out how to stop one. Westbrook is prone to bad shots and turnovers, so you can stop him and get out on the break. So not only is it important to stop the guy just because PG’s have run roughshod on the C’s… but he’s also a weak link in a high-powered offense.
The Wild Card: Kendrick Perkins
Will his emotion lead to early fouls and a parade of Celtics to the free throw line? Or will he play inspired basketball, block three shots early on, and have everyone crying about the trade (again)?
How we see it goin’ down
The Celtics are playing slow and sloppy. The Thunder are too young, too fast and too good to be given easy opportunities. They’re also third in the league in blocked shots, with Serge Ibaka and Perk defending the basket.
I’m looking for any edge that can benefit the C’s, but I can’t find one. The Celtics will probably score some points, but so will Oklahoma City. Kevin Durant will live at the line tonight, probably taking about 12-15 free throws alone. I expect Durant to drop about 35 points… I expect Perk to be too emotional for his own good, leading to some interesting moments… and I expect the Thunder to win it 108-99.