Thunder can beat the Celtics
Don’t be shocked if the Thunder upsets the Celtics tonight in the Ford Center.
Yes, I know Boston owns the league’s best road record (8-1). Yes, I know the Celtics are a physical, trash-talking, confident, veteran team that preys on young teams still learning how to win consistently.
But this is a different Thunder team than a year ago when they went winless against the Lakers, Celtics, Nuggets, Heat, Magic and Hornets.
By posting wins over Orlando, San Antonio, Miami and Utah, a young team has confidence it can play with anyone, including the Celtics.
The Thunder is catching Boston at a good time. Tonight’s game is the final game of a four-game road trip in which the aging Celtics will have played four games in six days. It’s the back end of a back-to-back, the Celtics having won Thursday night in San Antonio.
By starting the road trip 3-0, the Celtics already have had a successful road trip regardless of how they fare tonight. I’m not saying Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen are satisfied. But having already posted three road wins on the trip there won’t be a sense of urgency.
Both teams are ranked high in defensive categories. Boston is second in scoring defense (90.8). Oklahoma City is seventh (94.9). OKC actually is ranked slightly ahead of the Celtics in field goal percentage defense, 44.1 percent compared to 44.2.
Rebounding is one area Boston is struggling, one area Oklahoma City has been inconsistent. But bolstered by a sellout crowd, the refreshed Thunder should get to a few more losoe balls than the road weary Celtics. A few extra possessions could make the difference.
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