Ford CenterBoston 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
Radio: WEEI, WWLS Probable Starters
Rajon Rondo/Ray Allen/Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett/Kendrick Perkins Reserves
Lester Hudson Injuries
Glen Davis (thumb) out
Tony Allen (ankle) out
Bill Walker Probable Starters
Russell Westbrook/Thabo Sefolosha/Kevin Durant/Jeff Green/Etan Thomas Reserves
Nick Collision Injuries
Nenad Krstic (Achilles) questionable
Shaun Livingston (knee) questionable
Kevin Ollie (knee) out
Kyle Weaver (shoulder) out Team Connections
Nick Collison and Paul Pierce are former Kansas Jayhawks
Jeff Green was originally drafted by the Celtics with the 5th overall
pick in the 2007 Draft
Nick Collison and Ray Allen were teammates in Seattle from 2004-07
Kevin Ollie and Ray Allen are former UConn Huskies
James Harden and Eddie House are former Arizona State Sun Devils
Kevin Ollie and Shelden Williams were teammates in Minnesota
during the 2008-09 season.
Another connection has been Robert Swift. There have been countless stories and rumors about Danny's infatuation with Swift. It was said that Danny very much wanted Swift but had to settle for Big Al when Seattle grabbed Swift ahead of him. Big Al was a key to bringing KG to Boston and is one of the most promising young big men in the league. Meanwhile, Swift has been plagued with injuries and was eventually cut by Seattle. The talk of Danny infatuation with Swift continued this summer when Swift was invited to play on the Celtics summer league team. However, most talk ended when Swift appeared out of shape and wasn't invited to camp. Key Matchups
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.
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
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 very 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 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. 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. 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. X-Factor
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.