Thunderstruck? Boston Celtics @ Oklahoma City Thunder preview

A huge game for us Aussie C’s fans that is unfortunately at an unearthly hour later, gotta love US Sunday afternoon games.

Stat check: The Thunder is placed second in the Western Conference, first in their division and currently on a 4-game win streak.

Game time: 11 March 2013, 0400hrs AEDT

Watch it on: NBA League Pass

Roster changes:

  1. Rajon Rondo (ACL) and Jared Sullinger (back) are out for the season.

Top enemy performers:

  1. Scoring: Kevin Durant (28.5)
  2. Rebounds: Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka (7.8)
  3. Assists: Russell Westbrook (7.7)

Keys to the game:

  1. Stifling KD: I’m not sure how you actually stop a forward like Durant who can score a bunch either way. He may drive and dunk on you at times, but KD is still primarily a deadly shooting threat more than anything else. I would expect ball denial and attempts to force KD into catching the ball on tougher spots. Based on the lineup, would we expect Pierce to handle him on defense? The Captain has a tough mountain to shoulder as it is, I’m not looking for him to be our defensive stopper as well. I’m still on the Start-Jeff-Green bandwagon, but expect it not to happen. Another thought: would the new “manwich” zone/man defense throw KD off kilter?
  2. Care on offense: OKC overwhelms their opponents with sheer aggressive defense, and converts careless mistakes into transition buckets the next second. If we couldn’t afford mistakes in earlier games, the margin of error in this game is close to zero. Stay safe, don’t make lazy passes and hustle for loose balls.
  3. Truth time: While bench contributions are as important as any other game, the onus will once more be on the Truth to deliver the goods all over the court. Expect him to be ready to go as the postseason draws ever closer, and his efficiency in limited minutes could very well dictate this game’s outcome.

It’s highly likely that our win streak ends here, but never doubt the heart of our guys in green. Miracles might just happen yet, but I’m not sure if Doc wants to ride the vets hard enough to clinch this road win. I’m not optimistic about this game, so let us watch with faith and hope for the best.

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