The Boston Celtics head into play with a 33-19 record and 21-6 at home. They are on a hot streak, winners of their last three and eight of their last ten. They take on an Oklahoma City Thunder team that is 33-18 and 16-11 on the road. Similarly, they are also red hot, winners of their last seven and just three games out in the Western Conference. Boston won the first meeting in Oklahoma City by the score of 101-95.
Looking at the teams statistically, the Thunders are 5th in scoring and 12th in fewest points allowed. This is nearly opposite of Boston's 13th ranked offense and 3rd ranked defense. In terms of rebounding and turnovers, much of the same is seen. Oklahoma City is 3rd in rebounding and 18th in turnovers, while the Celtics are mediocre in rebounding (14th) and solid in ball control, 6th in turnovers. The team that best takes advantage of the other team's weaknesses likely comes on out top.
The Thunder is lead by Paul George, who dropped 43 points in their last win. He is averaging 27.6 points and eight rebounds per game, while hitting 41 percent from three-point range. Russell Westbrook is perhaps the best all around player in the league, averaging a triple-double of 21.5 points, 10.9 rebounds and 10.9 assists per game. Dennis Shroder contributes 15.6 per game, while Steven Adams is the top rebounder at 9.9 per game and adds 15 per contest. Jerami Grant and Terrence Ferguson are legitimate three-point threats, completing a solid overall unit.
For the Celetics, they are lead by guard Kyrie Irving, who is averaging 23.6 points and 6.9 assists per game. Jayson Tatum adds 16.2 points and 6.1 rebounds, while Marcus Morris is a 15 point per game scorer. Veteran center Al Horford leads the team in rebounding, albeit at only 6.7 per game, while dropping 12.5 points. Gordon Hayward has been solid, adding 11 per night. The Celtics can hurt a team from beyond the arc as Irving, Tatum and Morris are all around or above 40 percent accuracy.
This game should be a tight one that is decided late. Boston is excellent at home, but the Thunder are well above average on the road. Oklahoma City looks to extend their winning streak to eight. The duo of George and Westbrook will outplay the Celtics top tandem of Irving and Tatum. That is where the game will be won. Look for the Thunder to win in the most exciting game of the day.