Sunday, November 7, 2010
Game 7: Celtics vs. Thunder
By Chris Forsberg
at Ford Center, 7 p.m. | CSN, WEEI (850 AM)
||(5-1, 1-1 away)
||-- vs. --
|| (3-2, 1-1 home)
GAME PREVIEW (via Stats Inc.)
The Boston Celtics capped their first extended road trip last season with a convincing win against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Celtics will try to open this season's first lengthy trip with their third straight victory at Oklahoma City Arena.
Coming off consecutive overtime home wins, Boston looks to improve to 6-1 for the third straight season Sunday when it faces a Thunder team trying to avoid its first back-to-back home losses since December.
Led by Kevin Garnett's 23 points and 21 in the first half by Paul Pierce, Boston won 105-87 in its last game in Oklahoma City on Dec. 4, finishing a 4-0 trip and handing the Thunder their most lopsided home loss of 2009-10.
Back home following a 1-1 West Coast swing, Oklahoma City (3-2) will host a Celtics team looking to build off its first set of back-to-back overtime wins since March 3-4, 2007. After Wednesday's 105-102 victory over Milwaukee, Boston (5-1) defeated Chicago 110-105 on Friday for its fourth straight win, and now begins a four-game road trip.
"We got some valuable experience in these overtimes, which is great," Pierce said Friday after missing 10 of 14 shots and scoring a season-low 10 points. "I thought we really kept our poise."
Read the full preview HERE.
FORSBERG'S THREE THINGS TO WATCH
- Avoid the whistles: No team gets to the charity stripe as often as the Thunder, shooting an NBA-high 34.8 free throws per game. Considering Boston might be running thin with Shaquille O'Neal questionable, it's imperative that the bigs -- especially Jermaine O'Neal -- stay out of foul trouble. Kevin Durant famously got plenty of whistles the last time the two teams met in Boston with Garnett opining afterwards, "I thought we were playing Michael [expletive] Jordan the way he was getting the whistle. Durant damn near shot more free throws than our whole team."
- Chip on his shoulder: Rajon Rondo might be battling plantar fasciitis, but he admitted after Friday's overtime win over the Chicago Bulls that it's going to take a lot more than soreness in his feet to prevent him from playing against some of the league's top young point guards. With Derrick Rose in the rear-view mirror, Rondo turns his attention to Russell Westbrook, another guard that earned gold with Team USA at the 2010 FIBA World Championships after Rondo withdrew.
- Don't get into a shootout: Sure, the Thunder are allowing a whopping 106.4 points per game -- more than 11 points per game more than Boston is surrendering -- but Boston needs to keep the score low to be successful. Even with a day off Saturday, the Celtics are surely still weary after back-to-back overtime games and don't need this one to turn into a track meet.