Found March 09, 2013 on
Celtics Green ...a boston celtics blog.:
Oklahoma City Thunder
at Boston Celtics (34-27) at Oklahoma City Thunder (46-16) Sunday, March 10, 20131:00 PM ET Game #62, Road Game #31TV: ABC, CHCH TVRadio: WEEI, WWLS, ESPNRChesapeake Energy Arena
Jeff Green makes his return to OKC for the first time since he was
traded for Kendrick Perkins. Just as Perk was a fan favorite in Boston,
Jeff Green was a fan favorite in OKC and I expect him to get a warm
welcome from the fans there. Green has been a big part of Boston's
resurgence since Rondo went down and is averaging 14.7 points on 50.5
percent shooting during the 14-4 stretch since Rondo's injury. This
is the second and final time the Celtics will face the Thunder in the
regular season. They won the first meeting 108-100 in Boston before
Rondo and Sully went down. In that game, Pierce had 27 points and
Green added 17 in his first-ever game against his former team. Every
game from here on in could change the playoff seedings in both
conferences. The Thunder are in 2nd place in the West, 1.5 games
behind the Spurs and 3 games in front of the Clippers, who are in 3rd.
The Celtics have moved up to 6th in the East, half a game behind the
Bulls and 1.5 games behind the Nets. They are tied with the Hawks but
since they lead the series, they get the 6th seed while Atlanta has
slipped to the 7th seed. The Celtics are 3 games ahead of the Bucks,
who are in the 8th spot. Both teams are 7-3 in their last 10
games. Both bring win streaks into this game with the Celtics win
streak at 5 while the Thunder have won 4 in a row. Chesapeake Energy
Arena is one of the toughest places to play. Their crowd is always
raucous and their team feeds off of their energy.
Probable Starters Point Guard vs Avery Bradley vs Russell Westbrook Shooting Guard vs Courtney Lee vs Thabo Sefolosha Small Forward vs Paul Pierce vs Kevin Durant Power Forward vs Brandon Bass vs Serge Ibaka Center vs Kevin Garnett vs Kendrick Perkins Celtics ReservesJeff GreenJason TerryJordan Crawford Chris WilcoxTerrence Williams DJ White Shavlik Randolph InjuredRajon Rondo (knee) out Jared Sullinger (back) out Red ClawsFab MeloThunder ReservesNick CollisonReggie JacksonPerry Jones Jeremy Lamb Kevin MartinDerek Fisher Hasheem ThabeetRonnie Brewer Injured NoneTulsa 66ersDaniel OrtonDeAndre Liggins Key Matchups vs Avery Bradley vs Russell Westbrook Avery
will have perhaps his biggest challenge yet as he gets the job of
trying to slow down Russell Westbrook. Russ has been playing very well
and when he's on his game, it's very tough to stop him as he is a threat
to hit the outside shot as well as to make a strong drive to the hoop.
vs Paul Pierce vs Kevin Durant The
only thing tougher than trying to stop Russell Westbrook will be trying
to stop Kevin Durant. KD 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. Jeff Green may be the best option to try to slow
down his former teammate. Honorable Mention Kevin Garnett vs Kendrick PerkinsPerk
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, and
Kevin Garnett in particular, they will be the enemy while he is on the
court and expect him to be his snarly best in this game. Along with KG
vs Perk, Brandon Bass will have his hands full trying to stay with Serge
Ibaka. Keys to the GameDefense - Defense
has got to be the Celtics #1 priority. The Thunder are 2nd in the
league in 3 point percentage at 39.2%. They are 3rd in FG% at 48.4%.
And, they top the league in points scored per game at 107. The Celtics
must defend the 3 point line as well as keep them out of the paint
where they also do a lot of damage. The "manwich" defense might be
good to use against this team for stretches. Rebound the Ball
The Celtics have to crash the boards in order to prevent second chance
points and fast break opportunities for the Thunder. When they get a
defensive rebound, they are off to the races and will make you pay with a
fast break basket. With their size, they will also make you pay with
put backs and second chance baskets if you give them offensive
rebounds. If you give the Thunder a second chance, they don't often
miss twice. The Celtics have to put out more effort on the boards as a
team if they want to win. Bench Play - The
Celtics bench is going to be key in this game. They have been playing
very well, outscoring the Hawks 46-8, the Pacers 29-16, and the Sixers
41-22. If the Thunder have any flaws at all, it is their bench
scoring. Needless to say, they lose a lot when their starters go to the
bench. Defense on Kevin Martin, the Thunder's main weapon off the
bench, will be crucial. Be Aggressive - The
Celtics must be more aggressive. They have to go to the hoop and not
settle for jumpers. 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, especially
against an aggressive team like the Thunder. Players to WatchKendrick Perkins Simply because I still love Perk. Jeff GreenThis
is Jeff's first time facing his former team. Sometimes players try too
hard against their old team and it backfires and sometimes they shine,
wanting to show what they are missing by trading them. Hopefully, for
Jeff it will be the latter. I expect him to get a warm welcome from the
fans but after that, it's business. X-FactorOn the Road AgainThe
Celtics haven't played all that well on the road, although they've
played better there recently, winning both games on their last mini road
trip and winning 2 out of 5 on their West Coast trip. They need to
come out focused and not allow the crowd (or the refs) to take them out
of their game.
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The baseline reverse dunk is sort of becoming Jeff Green's thing of late. He had almost identical dunks the past two games and here they are for your viewing pleasure courtesy of our friend OfficialCelticsHD. Green struggled in his first return to OKC shooting only 2-11. I'm sure he'd trade this dunk for some more made shots and a victory vs. his former teammates.
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