Oklahoma City Thunder (7-4, 3-1 road) at Boston Celtics (9-2, 5-0 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 110.7 (6th), Celtics – 109.7 (7th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 112.0 (29th), Celtics – 101.5 (5th)
Pace: Thunder – 93.2 (17th), Celtics – 90.6 (24th)
View from the enemy: Celtics Hub
UPDATE: Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman reports Kevin Durant is unlikely to play tonight. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that’s probably bad. But if there was ever a night for Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka to play out of their minds, and for a guy like James Harden to bust out with a 20-plus point game, this would be it.
The longest streak so far this season for the Thunder is two. To make that three, well, the Thunder’s going to have to play their best game of the season.
Really, if you look at OKC’s schedule these first three weeks, it’s been fairly brutal. Only one loss is unforgivable and that was to the Clippers. But winning in Boston isn’t something expected, but to this point, the Thunder’s playing their best basketball. But they’ll have to play even better than that to win in Boston.
Boston coming in: The Celtics have won three straight and last played Wednesday against the Grizzlies. They’ve yet to lose at home.
Really, Oklahoma City doesn’t match up that horribly with the Celtics. Rajon Rondo against Russell Westbrook doesn’t really tilt huge to one way, Kevin Durant and Paul Pierce is something that leans OKC’s way and inside, while Kevin Garnett is obviously better than Serge Ibaka, the Thunder’s not THAT overmatched.
But still, the Celtics know how to play. And they know how to expose the areas an opponent is struggling with. So Boston will force the Thunder to move the ball and hit open shots. If that doesn’t happen, OKC won’t win. The Celtics are a good offensive team, but they aren’t explosive. They win because they eat you up defensively and force you gamble on defense to try and find easy points.
But by no means is this a foregone conclusion. OKC’s win in Boston last season with Jeff Green’s big 3-pointer was probably the best regular season victory of the season. And there’s no reason the Thunder can’t duplicate that. The game against Houston showed the Thunder might be turning a corner and with the offense playing well, this isn’t the same team that got worked by Boston two weeks ago. It’ll be tough, but it’s definitely worth watching.
Tip at 6:00 CT. Go Thunder Players.