OKC Thunder (11-2, 5-1 road) at Boston Celtics (4-7, 2-4 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 109.2 (2nd), Celtics– 101.6 (19th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 104.1 (19th), Celtics – 104.1 (20th)
Pace: Thunder – 91.9 (16th), Celtics – 88.5 (29th)
View from the enemy: Celtics Hub
There are a number of storylines for this one. Perk’s return to Boston, the fact it’s a primetime MLK Day game on national TV, the fact the Thunder are playing the Celtics, one of the most storied franchises in sports.
But more than that, it’s a dangerous game against a wounded opponent desperate to get the ship righted. The Celtics are 4-7 for crying out loud. Beating the Thunder would definitely be something that makes them feel a little better.
Boston coming in: The Celtics last played Saturday, losing in Indiana. They’ve dropped four straight.
Three Big Things
1. Defending Rondo. The Celtics basically stink offensively. The can’t get easy baskets, aren’t making shots and can’t get out in transition. Where they can still hurt you though is if Rajon Rondo gets his game going penetrating and creating. When that happens, he makes Kevin Garnett a weapon, Paul Pierce dangerous and Ray Allen better than he is.
2. The Celtics’ plan for KD. In the past, Boston has seemed content letting Pierce try and check Durant one-on-one and let him get his while seeing if the rest of the Thunder can do much. It’s worked at times, but that was before Russell Westbrook was an All-Star and James Harden was killing people with his beard.
3. Perk scuffles. Will he get into it with one of his former teammates? Would he dare scuffle with KG, who he wears No. 5 for? Will he clobber best buddy Rondo if he tries to come at the rim? Nah, but he might put Brandon Bass in a headlock.
Tip at 7:00 CT. Go Equality.