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Celtics Begin 5 Game Home Stand

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Oklahoma City Thunder (20-52) at Boston Celtics (55-19)
Sunday, March 29
7:00 PM ET
Game #74, Home Game #36
TV: CSN HD, KSBI, NBA LP 755
TD Banknorth Garden

Game Thread l Chat

Celtics come home to begin a rare 5 game home stand that will start with taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder in this game and will include Charlotte, Atlanta, New Jersey, and Miami.

. Sunday games haven't been all that kind to the Celtics in that they have lost the last 3 games they played on Sunday. Since this is an evening game and not on national TV, hopefully we can break the Sunday losing streak with this game.

The Celtics won in Oklahoma City 96-83, when the team was still at full strength before the injury bug hit the team. The Celtics should still be able to beat them in the Garden, even with all of the injuries, as long as they come out focused and don't underestimate them.

After holding KG out of the last game, Doc has said that it is likely that he may sit in this game as well. It is also possible he may play limited minutes but with the Celtics off until Wednesday after this game, it may be best to keep him on the bench.

The Thunder are 6-28 on the road while the Celtics are 29-6 at home. The Thunder are also a young and athletic team that could give the Celtics problems if they take them for granted.


Probable Starting Matchups

Point Guard

vs
Rajon Rondo vs Russell Westbrook

Shooting Guard
vs
Ray Allen vs Kyle Weaver

Small Forward
vs
Paul Pierce vs Kevin Durant

Power Forward
vs
Glen Davis vs Jeff Green

Center
vs
Kendrick Perkins vs Nick Collison

Injuries
Boston CelticsTony Allen (thumb) out
Brian Scalabrine (head) out
Leon Powe (knee) out

Oklahoma City ThunderDesmond Mason (knee) out
DJ White (jaw) out

Key Matchups
vs
Paul Pierce PPG 20.2 RPG 5.80 APG 3.7 EFF + 18.99
Kevin Durant PPG 25.9 RPG 6.60 APG 2.9 EFF + 23.40
Last year's #2 overall draft pick has been a bright spot for the Thunder this season and can score from pretty much anywhere on the court. Pierce will have a hard time trying to contain him, but on the other hand, Durant stands little chance of stopping Pierce either.

Honorable Mention
Bench vs Bench
With KG and Rondo still affected with injuries, the Celtics' bench players should see more playing time in this one. And Big Baby may be called on again to play big minutes. Hopefully they will be up to the task.


Connections
hese two teams are connected by several players and transactions. Jeff Green, their starting small forward was picked by the Celtics in the draft and promptly traded to Seattle to bring Ray Allen to Boston. Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak, the two players who came along with the draft pick are no longer with the team as they were traded to Cleveland in the middle of last 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 has not played in games so far this season.

Keys to the Game
Take Care of the Ball - The Celtics must take better care of the ball and reduce their turnovers. This would be a good game to get that done.

Rebound - The Celtics need to crash the boards and keep the Thunder from getting second chance points.

Defense - The Celtics have yet to get back to their pre-All Star Break defense. They have to concentrate on getting their defensive intensity back as defense wins championships. We saw it in most of the Hawks game but they let the Hawks back in the game in the 4th quarter. They have to get back to playing defense for 48 minutes.

X-Factor
Focus and Effort
If the Celtics take this team seriously, they should be able to beat them, even without KG. But, if they come in expecting this to be a cakewalk and don't put forth the effort, they could be surprised by a young Thunder team.