The Oklahoma City Thunder enter tonight’s contest coming off their most impressive win of the season beating the Los Angeles Clippers in overtime two nights ago. After taking down one of the West’s best, they will be faced with one of the East’s best tonight and on the road vs. the Boston Celtics.
The Thunder have gotten out to a much more impressive start than Boston so far this season. OKC is 3rd in the league in offensive efficiency and 12th in defensive efficiency. The Celtics while playing in a weaker conference are 10th in offensive efficiency and just 25th defensively.
The biggest weakness for the Celtics is the same one they had a year ago in that they simply do not get any offensive rebounds. They are dead last by a wide margin in offensive rebounding rate while the Thunder are 13th in the league in defensive rebounding rate.
Boston has some new faces this season and there has been some rotational changes to the team. It still starts and stops with point guard Rajon Rondo though who will be one part in a great matchup tonight in Russell Westbrook.
Rondo is on a historical assists run getting 10 or more in the last 35 games. He’s leading the league averaging 13.3 per night.
Westbrook is right at the top of the charts in dimes as well this year averaging 8.4 per game which is good for 5th in the league. Westbrook is also one of the more prolific isolation scorers in the league right now averaging 20.8 points per game as well.
Kevin Durant enters tonight’s game fresh off a 35-points performance vs. the Clippers. He struggled from the field though and got most of his points from the free throw line. Boston will have a tough time matching up with Durant with Paul Pierce and former teammate Jeff Green, who will be playing against OKC for the first time since being traded.
The Thunder’s offensive prowess this season is due largely to their spot-up shooting which has been 3rd best in the league so far this season. Kevin Martin leads the way in that department as he is shooting 54.1 percent from beyond the arc so far this year. Throw in Thabo Sefolosha who is shooting 51.7 percent on threes and you see how the Thunder have been so dominant offensively this year.
This matchup is simply not a good one for the Celtics. OKC can individually defend every position without doubling and the Celtics aren’t going to get any second chances on offense. The Thunder offense has been playing at a very high level this season and passed a very tough test against the Clippers in their last game.
It’s never easy to win on the road in the NBA and Boston definitely is a talented team. But the Thunder are looking very good right now and should be able to head into Beantown and get the job done. The game will tip-off at 7:30 p.m. EST.