OKC Thunder (9-3, 3-1 road) vs. Boston Celtics (6-6, 3-3 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 110.1 (3rd), Celtics– 105.0 (12th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 103.2 (14th), Celtics – 107.2 (26th)
Pace: Thunder – 92.7 (11th), Celtics – 91.8 (21st)
View from the enemy: Celtics Hub
It’s no big secret the Thunder put quite a bit into Wednesday’s game against the Clippers. They wanted that game and played like it. They needed some kind of statement win. Now that they have it, how do they respond?
On the road in Boston, a very quality opponent, the Thunder are tasked with following up an emotional, difficult win with another strong performance against a good team. Plus, the Celtics haven’t exactly looked as good as most expected, so they probably feel they have a chance to prove a little something here. They’re going to play tough, going to compete and going to try and rough up OKC a bit.
One other thing I can’t help but think about with this matchup: This was so very close to being the Thunder’s opponent for the Finals. That would’ve been nice, right?
Boston coming in: The Celtics lost Wednesday to the Spurs.
Three Big Things
1. Pace. The Thunder have been playing a tad slower lately and the Celtics are consistently one of the slowest teams in the league. The Thunder typically just play at the pace of their opponent, instead of really trying to set a tempo for the game. Most likely, this will be a bit of a halfcourt grinder, though any opportunity the Thunder have to run, they’ve got to take it. Because that’s a major advantage. Transition hoops are better than trying to break down Kevin Garnett in a pick-and-roll.
2. Rondo-Westbrook. Remember before the draft in 2008 when some people were trying to compare Westbrook to Rondo? Well, that was pretty stupid. Pretty awesome matchup though. I’m a little intrigued as to if Scott Brooks might use Thabo Sefolosha on Rondo some.
3. Old acquaintances. The first time the Thunder have taken on Jeff Green since the trade. Perk has squared off with his ubuntu brothers before, but this is the first look at Uncle Jeff on the other side. The trade obviously isn’t fresh anymore with Green missing all of last season, but still.
Tip at 6:30 CT. Go Basketball Team.