Thunder Stories

Game 8 Preview: Oklahoma City vs. Boston Celtics

Tonight, the Oklahoma City Thunder (4-3) will face the red-hot Boston Celtics (6-2). The Celtics are entering tonight's game on a six wins streak and, despite the absence of Gordon Hayward (out for the season), they seem to have found a great balance between offense/defense and young/veteran players.

Keys to the Game

Box out – The Thunder will have to focus on boxing out Boston’s players. So far this season, the Celtics are one of the best rebounding teams in the league (6th with 47.1 per game) and they are in the top ten in grabbing offensive rebounds (10th with 10.9 per game). While Thunder’s defense is getting better game after game, rebounding is still an issue, and allowing 2nd chance points might ruin an otherwise solid team defensive effort. In fact, the Thunder rank 23rd in the league in 2nd points allowed with 13.7.

Steven Adams – The Boston Celtics rank 21st in the league in points allowed in the paint (46.3). Steven Adams could and should help the Thunder in exploiting this Celtics’ weakness. The big Kiwi was showing a huge improvement in his first seven games of this young season. He is still a solid defensive anchor, however, what’s more surprising, is that he took a big leap on the offensive side of the floor. He looks more comfortable and aggressive. Without a real rim protector on their side, the Boston Celtics might be in trouble with Adams’ offensive improvement.

Offense control – The Boston Celtics’ defensive rating is the highest of the league with only 95.1 points allowed. This obviously means it’s going to be hard for Oklahoma City to score.
Despite having many single offensive weapons, the Thunder have been showing already that they are more productive by playing together compared to when they try to win the game by themselves. In both meetings last season, the Thunder beat the Celtics, led by Westbrook’s amazing solo performances. Nevertheless tonight, moving the ball and trust the “next guy” will be crucial to winning the game.


Injury Report

Oklahoma City Thunder

• N/A

Boston Celtics 

  • Gordon Hayward (Ankle – out for the season) 
  • Marcus Morris (Knee – probable for tonight) 

Teams Stats

Oklahoma City Thunder

PPG 106.4 – OPP PTS 95.6
FG% 46.4 – 3PT% 34.7 – FT% 73.9
APG 23.4 – RPG 42.4 – TOV 15.7

Boston Celtics

PPG 103.0– OPP PTS 93.8
FG% 44.4 – 3PT% 36.2 – FT% 76.6
APG 22.4 – RPG 47.1 – TOV 15.3

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