Celtics host Perk and the surging Thunder

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The Celtics hope to get back on track as they host a red hot Thunder team.

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Oklahoma City Thunder (9-3) at Boston Celtics (6-6)
Friday, November 23, 2012
7:30 PM ET
Game #13, Home Game #7
TV: NBA-TV, NBAC, FSOK, CSNNE
Radio: WEEI, WWLS
TD Garden
Referees: Derrick Stafford, Eric Lewis, Derek Richardson


Game Thread l Chat


Boston Celtics Tickets

Kendrick Perkins makes his second trip back to the Garden. In his first visit last season, the Thunder came out the winner 119-104. The Thunder have won the last 3 games between these two teams. I don't think it's a coincidence that the Thunder win streak coincides with the Perk for Green trade. This will be Jeff Green's first time to face his old team.

The Thunder lead the Northwest division while the Celtics have dropped to 4th in the Atlantic. The Thunder are 3-1 on the road while the Celtics are 3-3 at home. The Thunder have won 3 in a row while the Celtics have dropped their last 2 games.

The Celtics need to do something quick to find their defensive roots. The Thunder are second in the league in scoring, averaging 103 points a game. They are undefeated when scoring 100 points or more. The only way the Celtics can beat this team is to clamp down on defense, something they haven't done except in spurts this season so far.


Probable Starters
Point Guard
vs
Rajon Rondo 13.2 PPG 13.1 APG 2.1 SPG
Russell Westbrook 20.8 PPG, 8.4 APG, 1.5 SPG

Shooting Guard

vs
Jason Terry 11.0 PPG 2.0 APG .3853P%
Thabo Sefolosha 6.3 PPG, 1.7 APG, .517 3P%

Small Forward
vs
Paul Pierce 19.3 PPG 6.0 RPG 3.0 APG
Kevin Durant 25.4 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 4.7 APG

Power Forward
vs
Brandon Bass 9.2 PPG 5.1 RPG 0.9 BPG
Serge Ibaka 14.7 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 3.4 BPG

Center
vs
Kevin Garnett 15.1 PPG 7.4 RPG 0.8 BPG
Kendrick Perkins 4.2 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 0.8 BPG




Celtics Reserves

Jared Sullinger
Jason Collins
Jeff Green
Courtney Lee
Leandro Barbosa
Chris Wilcox

Injured
Avery Bradley (shoulders) out

Red Claws
Fab Melo
Kris Joseph



Thunder Reserves
Nick Collison
Reggie Jackson
Perry Jones
Jeremy Lamb
DeAndre Liggins
Kevin Martin
Eric Maynor
Daniel Orton
Hasheem Thabeet

Injured

None


Key Matchups
vs
Rajon Rondo vs Russell Westbrook
Rondo once again faces one of the top young PG's in the league.. Rondo had vied with Westbrook for a spot on the Olympic team before Rondo withdrew and Westbook went on to win a gold medal. Rondo allowed Tony Parker to score a season high 26 points in his last outing and so hopefully will be looking to be more aggressive defensively in this game.

vs
Paul Pierce vs Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant is making a case for being the best player in the NBA and Pierce will have his hands full trying to guard him. Durant is also a good defender so this may be a tough game for Pierce all the way around. We may see Jeff Green taking a turn at guarding his former teammate at times in this game also.

Honorable Mention
Kevin Garnett vs Kendrick Perkins
Perk will always be a Celtic. But he's also one of the more competitive players in the league. As much as he loves his former teammates, they will be the enemy while he is on the court and expect him to be his snarly best in this game.

Game Notes

Kendrick Perkins makes his second trip back to the Garden. In his first visit last season, the Thunder came out the winner 119-104. The Thunder have won the last 3 games between these two teams. I don't think it's a coincidence that the Thunder win streak coincides with the Perk for Green trade.

The Thunder lead the Northwest division while the Celtics have dropped to 4th in the Atlantic. The Thunder are 3-1 on the road while the Celtics are 3-3 at home. The Thunder have won 3 in a row while the Celtics have dropped their last 2 games.

The Celtics need to do something quick to find their defensive roots. The Thunder are second in the league in scoring, averaging 103 points a game. They are undefeated when scoring 100 points or more. The only way the Celtics can beat this team is to clamp down on defense, something they haven't done except in spurts this season so far.

Keys to the Game
Defense - Defense has got to be the Celtics #1 priority. They have been allowing teams to get to the hoop and to get their shots off way too easily. They must recommit to team defense if they want to get back on the winning track. This is the first and foremost key to winning, period.

Rebound the Ball The Celtics have to crash the boards in order to prevent second chance points and fast break opportunities for the Thunder. Rebounding takes effort and desire and the Celtics haven't shown a lot of either. They have to put out more effort on the boards as a team if they want to win.

Bench Play - The Thunder are a deep team and they get good contributions from their second unit. The Celtics reserves scored only 17 points against the Spurs. The Celtics have the talent on the bench and they simply must start to contribute more on a regular basis.

Be Aggressive
- The Celtics must be more aggressive. They have to go to the hoop and not settle for jumpers. They were outscored in the paint 58-34 in their last game. That should never be. They need to get to the basket more and be more aggressive on defense to keep their opponents from scoring in the paint. They can't be passive and expect to win the game.

Player to Watch


Simply because I still love Perk! Perk has taken to guarding the opposing point guard from time to time to get himself going and to throw off the opponents' offense. It'll be fun to see if he guards his old friend Rajon Rondo in this game.

X-Factor
Pride.
The Celtics were embarrassed at home in their last game. They need to dig down and find their Celtics Pride and do what they have to do to get it together. We know they have the talent, but they need to put it together.


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