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Thunder vs. Celtics: Pregame Primer

Thunder vs. Celtics: Pregame Primer



Thunder (17-12, 6-6 road) vs. Celtics (17-12, 6-5 home)

Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM, 930 AM (Spanish))
Time: 6:30 PM CST

Team Comparisons (per NBA.com/Stats)

Offensive Rating: Thunder – 103.8 (17th), Celtics – 106.1 (9th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 103.3 (11th), Celtics – 103.7 (12th)

Consistent bench production is something the Oklahoma City Thunder have struggled with all season. Whether it be Semaj Christon’s struggles with managing the second unit, Alex Abrines and Anthony Morrow’s streaky shooting, or Enes Kanter or Joffrey Lauvergne’s struggles on the defensive end, the bench players for the Thunder just never feel whole.

But then a game like the one against the Pelicans happens, and you realize just how much potential that second unit has. Christon was more aggressive on the offensive end, and seems to be embracing his combo guard qualities. Abrines, as Russell Westbrook would say, “shot the piss out of the ball,” enroute to a 5/11 showing from deep that game. And Kanter and Lauvergne dominated on the boards and in the paint, and kept Anthony Davis enough at bay to not be a factor in the outcome of the game. If only that could happen on a more consistent basis. But then again, if that did happen more often, they would likely be well paid starters on other teams.

Season Series Recap

This is the second and final meeting of the season between the Thunder and Celtics. In the first meeting, the Thunder rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Boston, 99-96. Westbrook was dominant as usual, but the key to the game was the dominance by the Thunder bigs (30 points and 15 boards combined for Steven Adams and Kanter).


Cameron Payne (foot)
Victor Oladipo (wrist)

3 Big Things

1. Post play

Adans and Kanter were big factors in the first meeting, and I would not expect that to change in this game. Al Horford is good, but he’s a true power forward. He will always have problems matching up with true bigs on the interior.

2. Westbrook

His triple double streak was halted at 7 by the Celtics the last time they played. He’s only had 1 in the 5 games they’ve played since. He may say he doesn’t care about the triple-doubles. But we all know he does. Triple-double incoming.

3. Perimeter defense

The entire rotation for the Celtics can shoot from deep. They aren’t necessarily a drive and dish team, but more of a space you out, take the bigs out the paint, and operate with space kind of team. The Thunder D will have to remain disciplined and stay in front of their man.