Current Records: Oklahoma City Thunder (33-10), Boston Celtics (15-29)
Last time they met: Oklahoma City Thunder (119) def. Boston Celtics (96)
The Oklahoma City Thunder will have to go into this clash as heavy favourites. They have taken care of the Portland Trailblazers and San Antonio Spurs in their past couple of games and Kevin Durant has scored over 30 points in nine consecutive games. A day of rest and the Thunder should be fresh and ready to take on the Celtic’s in Beantown.
In the win over the Spurs, Reggie Jackson was superb. He took control of the offence, hit his open shots and put the pressure on the defense. It acted as the best support for Durant who the Spurs were heavily focused on. The Celtics will be wary of Durant but will also have to pay respect to Serge Ibaka and Reggie Jackson who have proven their worth of late.
The Cetics will be buoyed by the return of Rajon Rondo who is a welcome return. He has yet to find real form – as to be expected – but just having him on the floor makes Boston a different and more aggressive unit. Jordan Crawford led the way in their last meeting, but he is no longer on the C’s squad and there is concern over Avery Bradley too.
Kevin Durant vs. Jeff Green
Who can slow down Kevin Durant right now? Batum tried and failed, Kawhai Leonard had some success before being injured, but it is possibly the hardest task in basketball right now. Former Thunder teammate Jeff Green will try his hand at it, while also trying to be a focal point on offence for the Celtics. Gerald Wallace will give Green supprt and the Celtics will be hoping that running multiple defenders at KD is enough to stop him. If Durant keeps going the way he has been and scores 30 again though – the Thunder are likely easy winners. Green has torched the Thunder before though and came up huge in an overtime win over the Wizards.
Reggie Jackson vs Rajon Rondo
Reggie Jackson dominated the Spurs for a third time this season. He has grown into the starting role and his development has flown along to the point that the Thunder trust him a whole lot more and Reggie usually delivers. He will have a fair look at one of the best point guards (when healthy) in Rondo and this will be interesting to see unfold. Rondo is likely to be on limited minutes, but can really change a game with very few possessions. Jackson will be that second or third option behind Durant so his task cannot be underestimated.
Thunder Bench vs Celtics Bench
The Boston Celtic’s are stacking assets for a rebuild and this leaves them very thin, especially when injuries occur. Their depth will be tested in this one as the Thunder have been getting great minutes from their bench depth in Jeremy Lamb, Nick Collison, Steve Adams and even Derek Fisher. When the Celtic starters hit the pine, it is going to be up to the second unit to try and maintain or gather momentum which is a tough ask against the very talented and in form Thunder reserves.
If the best teams in the Western Conference have been unsuccessful in defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder then it’s a tough ask for the lowly Celtics to get the job done. During this rebuild they are undermanned and due to some injuries, they will be even more shorthanded. The Thunder are really locked in at the moment and I don’t see them slowing up against Boston. Thunder should win comfortably and Durant will continue his hot streak. Thunder 110, Boston 97.
Who do you think takes the points in this one? Let us know in the comments below!