Celtics Looking to Stay Perfect at Home

Oklahoma City Thunder (7-4) at Boston Celtics (9-2)
Friday, November 18
7:00 PM ET
Game #12, Home Game #6
TD Garden 
Referees:  Joe Crawford,  Pat Fraher,  Mark Linsday  
The last time the Oklahoma City Thunder played in Boston, they left Kevin Garnett scratching his head over Durant's star treatment.   In that game,  Durant shot 15 free throws while the Celtics, as a team, shot just 17 free throws for the game.   The Thunder continue to be among the favorites for getting the whistles but hopefully that won't be the story tonight. 

These two teams met just over a week ago with the Celtics coming away with a win in their first game on the recent road trip.   The Thunder will be looking to avenge that loss while the Celtics are looking to keep their perfect home win record intact.   The Thunder have been a decent road team with a 3-1 record while the Celtics have been a dominant 5-0 at home.

The Celtics may catch a break in this game as it is now reported that Kevin Durant is 50-50 for tonight's game with an ankle sprain.  If he can't go, James Harden would get the start in his place. 
Probable Starters
Point Guard
Rajon Rondo  10.9 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 14.9 APG .2.6 SPG
Russell Westbrook  23.3 PPG, 8.1 APG, 2.1 SPG

Shooting Guard

Ray Allen  18.1 PPG,  2.6 APG, .445 3P%
Thabo Sefolosha    4.8 PPG,  1.7 APG,  .231 3P%

Small Forward
Paul Pierce   21.2 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 2.7 APG
Kevin Durant  28.0 PPG, 6.4 RPG,  2.6 APG

Power Forward
Kevin Garnett   15.6 PPG,  10.1 RPG, 0.5 BPG
Serge Ibaka    12.1 PPG,  7.9 RPG,  2.6 BPG

Shaquille O'Neal   10.3 PPG, 5.8 RPG,  0.3 BPG, 
Nenad Krstic    8.1 PPG,  5.5 RPG,  0.4 BPG

Boston Bench Mob

Delonte West
Marquis Daniels
Glen Davis
Luke Harangody
Nate Robinson
Von Wafer
Semih Erden
Avery Bradley

Kendrick Perkins (knee) out
Jermaine O'Neal (knee)  out

Thunder Reserves
Serge Ibaka
James Harden
Eric Maynor
Cole Aldrich
Daequan Cook
DJ White
Royal Ivey
Byron Mullens
Mo Peterson
Nick Collison


Jeff Green (ankle) Day to Day 
Kevin Durant (ankle) game time decision

Key Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs Russell Westbrook
Rondo once again faces one of the top young PG's in the league.  These two PG's were vying for a spot on Team USA before Rondo withdrew and Westbrook went on to win a gold medal with the team.  Rondo always has a little extra motivation playing against the rising PG's in the league.  In their first meeting this season Rondo had 10 points, 10 assists, 4 steals and 4 turnovers while Westbrook had 16 points, 10 assists, 4 steals and 8 turnovers. 

Paul Pierce vs Kevin Durant 
Kevin Durant is making a case for being the best player in the NBA and is already in MVP talks for this season and  Pierce will have his hands full trying to guard him.  Durant is also a good defender so this may be a tough game for Pierce all the way around. Durant won the first meeting between these two with Pierce putting up 17 points and 2 rebounds and Durant scoring 34 points and pulling down 6 rebounds. 

Game Notes

The Celtics beat the Thunder 92-83 in Oklahoma City to tip off their recent road trip.  The Celtics are back home and have been playing very well in the Garden where they are 5-0.  The Celtics will be looking to keep their record perfect at home while the Thunder will be looking to avenge the loss that the Celtics handed them in their building.  The Thunder are 3-1 on the road. 

Keys to the Game
Limit Turnovers - The Celtics have been doing better in recent games to take care of the ball but then need to continue to concentrate on that area because they tend to get lax at times and the turnovers make games that should be easy much more difficult. 

Rebound the Ball    The Celtics have to crash the boards in order to prevent second chance points and fast break opportunities for the Thunder. 

Defense -  Defense has got to be the Celtics #1 priority.  They have been playing decent defense, but it has to be great defense if they want to win the title.

Bench Play -  With Delonte finally able to play, the Celtics' second unit is shaping up.  With Semih hurting and JO out, they are still a bit thin in the middle, but the bench should be able to give the starters a good rest while maintaining or enlarging a lead.  The Celtics got 37 points from their bench in the last meeting between these two teams and should once again be able to dominate in this area.  

Home Court Advantage
The Celtics have been playing very well at home and they should put out some extra effort to keep their record at home perfect.  It would be nice to have another Gino sighting as well.