Time: 1:00 PM CST
The Oklahoma City Thunder (33-18) are back in action today in Boston, taking on Kyrie Irving and the Celtics (33-19) at the TD Garden. The Thunder enter on a seven-game winning streak that includes four road victories. They’ll look to continue their winning ways against a Celtics team that’s currently fifth in the Eastern Conference and winners of eight of their last nine contests.
Tip-off is at 1:00 PM CST and will be nationally-televised on ABC. The Thunder are 3.5-point road underdogs according to Odds Shark.
- Andre Roberson: Out — Knee
- Aron Baynes: Out — Foot
Celtics: Kyrie Irving, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, Marcus Morris, Al Horford
|Team||EFG||FTA%||TO%||OREB%||OP EFG||OP FTA||OP TO||OP OREB|
|Team||2ND PTS||FBPS||PITP||OP 2ND PTS||OP FBPS||OP PITP|
What to Watch For
The Defenses. The Thunder and Celtics are tied for second-best defensive rating in the NBA at 104.6. Both squads use length and versatility to get the job done — something Boston did more successfully in their first meeting of the season on October 25. The Celtics won that game 101-95 and held the Thunder to 39.4 percent shooting from the floor and 25 percent from long range. Paul George and Russell Westbrook combined for 35 points on 12-of-42 shooting.
The Point Guards. The Westbrook/Kyrie Irving match-up at point guard will be one to watch. Irving leads the Celtics in scoring at 23.6 PPG and is shooting 41.2 percent from long range. Westbrook has recorded five straight triple-doubles and is posting 20.4 PPG, 13.2 RPG, and 13.8 APG on 44 percent shooting (33.3% 3P) across the five game stretch. If he can continue playing controlled, he gives the Thunder increased odds of winning. He was 5-of-20 in the first match-up between the teams this season.
Thunder Bench. The Celtics boast a very deep roster, which will put a lot of pressure on the Thunder reserves today. Boston averages 39.1 PPG worth of contribution from its bench (11th) and they’re fifth overall in bench plus/minus at +1.5. The Thunder reserves are a -1.2 on the season (19th) and will need to keep their head above water against a good team in a tough road environment.
PG13 vs Length. Paul George has been destroying defenses all season long, averaging 27.6 PPG on 41 percent shooting from long range. He dropped 43 points against the Heat on Friday, 37 against the Magic on Tuesday, and 36 against the Bucks a week ago today. Boston has a host of long, versatile defenders that will try to slow him down. The Thunder need him to continue elevating his play in the big games if the winning streak is to reach eight straight.
The Boston Attack. Irving leads the Celtics in scoring at 23.6 PPG. He’s joined in double-figures by Jayson Tatum (16.2), Marcus Morris (14.7), Jaylen Brown (12.7), Al Horford (12.5), and Gordon Hayward (10.7). The Celtics are the fifth-best three-point shooting team in the NBA, hitting 36.9 percent of their attempts.