OKC at BOS Preview – Shipping up to Boston
BOSTON – As the Thunder tries for its sixth consecutive win tonight, this time in frigid Boston against the Celtics, it will be battling a team it saw less than three weeks ago, but one that is starkly different.
The Thunder won the first meeting between these two at Chesapeake Energy Arena by a score of 119-96, when Reggie Jackson set his career-high with 27 points, which he recently just matched again on Wednesday against the San Antonio Spurs. The Thunder outscored Boston in every quarter of that contest, but Head Coach Scott Brooks’ club knows that with Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo returning to the lineup, Boston is a much more challenging opponent.
“I thought we played pretty well,” Brooks said of the two teams’ last meeting. “We did a great job of moving the basketball and taking care of the ball. Hopefully we can do that again tonight, but they are definitely a different team with Rondo.”
On the defensive end, the Thunder will have to worry about a number of players, starting with Jeff Green and Brandon Bass in the frontcourt. The head of the snake for the Celtics, however, is Rondo, who will be looking to attack every time the ball is in his hands. Thunder center Kendrick Perkins knows all about Rondo, his last remaining former teammate on the Celtics from his time as an NBA Champion in Boston. As a result, Perkins diagnosed the Celtics’ gameplan at the Thunder’s morning shootaround.
“They’re going to try to push the tempo,” Perkins said. “They’re going to try to get out and run.”
On the other end of the floor, the Thunder wants to continue doing what has made it successful over the past week, which is spacing the floor properly and being unselfish with the ball. Letting the ball find the best shot within the rhythm of the offense by using the pass has been a staple of the Thunder’s offensive success under Brooks, so point guard Reggie Jackson will look to stay aggressive while continuing to set up teammates for good looks.
“We’re doing a great job of getting into our offensive sets,” Brooks explained. “Everybody is believing in the extra pass and we’re doing a good job of taking care of the basketball.”
In the Notes:
- The Thunder is 1-0 against the Celtics this season, and overall is 6-5 against Boston in the regular season.
- The Thunder is 11-5 this season in games decided by six points or less.
- The Thunder is 20-6 this season when Kevin Durant scores 30-or-more points, which he has done in nine straight games.
6:30 p.m. CT. TV – Fox Sports Oklahoma; Radio – 98.1 FM The Sports Animal, Thunder Radio Network