Boston Celtics (15-4) at Oklahoma City Thunder (10-8)
Friday, December 4
8:00 PM ET
Game #20, Road Game #10
TV: FS OK, CSN HD, NBA-LP 761,762
Ron Garretson, Tony Brothers, Eric Dalen

The Thunder aren't a gimme game any more. They are playing very good basketball and are over .500 for the season. They have beaten some very good teams including Orlando, San Antonio, and Utah.

Oklahoma has become a good defensive team, especially in the paint. They are holding teams to the third lowest field goal percentage at the rim in the league. They don't have a shot blocker as such, but their collective length allows them to contest just about every shot. Perk will have his work cut out for him in this game.

The Celtics are playing in the second of back to backs after facing the Spurs the night before. The Spurs game was a tough one that kept the Starters on the floor up to the end of the game. The Thunder are coming in with a days rest. Also, the Thunder is another of those young and athletic teams that tend to give the Celtics problems.

The Celtics need to take this one very seriously or the Thunder could surprise them.

Probable Starters
[image] [image] [image] [image] [image]
Rajon Rondo/ Ray Allen/ Paul Pierce/ Kevin Garnett

Probable Starters
[image] [image] [image] [image] [image]
Russell Westbrook/Thabo Sefolosha/Kevin Durant/Jeff Green/Etan Thomas

Key Matchups
[image] vs [image]
When we play against Durant there will always be thoughts of what might have been if the Celtics had landed the 1st or 2nd pick in that draft instead of the 5th. Durant is blossoming in to a very good player and both Pierce and Durant have been playing well. This should be a good matchup.

[image] vs [image]
Kevin Garnett vs Jeff Green
This is another of those what might have been matchups. The Celtics picked Jeff Green with the 5th pick in the draft and then traded him to Seattle in return for Ray Allen and this was the trade that set the table for KG to Boston. The way KG has been playing, this should be a mismatch in the Celtics favor. KG has height and experience advantages. Green has youth and possibly quickness, but I'll put my money on the intense veteran in this one.

Game Notes
• Celtics won the season series 2-0 against the Thunder in 2008-09
• Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 23.5 points per game last season
• Kevin Durant led the Thunder with an average of 19.0 points per game against the Celtics last season
• The Celtics are 7-3 against the Thunder since the 2004-05 season
• The Celtics are leading the all-time series 65-50 with the Celtics 34-19 at home

Keys to the Game
Defense The team that plays the best defense is going to come out on top in this one. Both teams can put up the points and the team that stops the other team will have the advantage.

Rebound Rebounding is especially important when playing teams like the Thunder who will run on misses on the defensive end and who are athletic enough to get put backs on the offensive end. Also, the team that wins the rebounding battle is usually the team putting out the most effort. The Celtics were badly out rebounded against the Spurs  and need to make that a priority against this young Thunder team.  

Be Smart Typically, in the second of back to back games, the outside shots stop falling because of tired legs. If they aren't falling, the Celtics need to realize this and take the ball inside instead of continuing to shoot blanks.

The Celtics are playing in the second of back to back games and in the 4th game of a road trip. They got a hard fought win in San Antonio, but it may have taken a lot out of them. The young and athletic Thunder may be too much for the Celtics if their legs are tired and their focus is wavering at the end of this trip.

FLCeltsFan 12/04/2009 03:12:00 PM Edit
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