The Boston Celtics meet up with the Oklahoma City Thunder for the first time this season. Both teams have had disappointing starts to the season, which has surprised plenty of people. Both teams were marked as playoff teams to begin the season but have not been playing like playoff contenders to begin the season.
Boston finished last season with a 55-27 record. The Celtics knocked off the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers in the playoffs but lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Conference Finals. Boston has started this season with a 2-2 record.
Oklahoma City went 48-34 last season, which put them in fourth place of the Western Conference. The Thunder lost to the Utah Jazz in the first round in six games. Oklahoma City has struggled this season. They have gone 0-3 so far.
The Thunder are still searching for their first win, while the Celtics want to avoid falling below an even record. Boston has gone 1-1 on the road to begin the season. I believe this is going to be a solid matchup as both teams are desperate for a win.
Last Season’s Matchups
Last season, the Thunder and the Celtics met up twice. Both games were close, but Boston was able to come out on top in both games. The first matchup of the season was held in Oklahoma City. Paul George and Russell Westbrook combined for 44 points. Kyrie Irving dropped 25 points, while Al Horford put up another 20. The Celtics were able to come out on top 101-94.
The second matchup of the season shifted to Boston. Russell Westbrook scored 27 on the Celtics defense, while Paul George dropped 24. Even with Westbrook and George’s dominant performances, the Thunder could not pull off the win. Jayson Tatum put up 23 and the Celtics bench dropped 35 as Boston pulled off a close 100-99 win.
The Thunder know about their lack of success against the Celtics last season and they will be looking to change it on Thursday night. Oklahoma City needs a win and I believe if they can beat Boston it could really get them on a roll. Westbrook and George both found success against the Celtics last season and they will need another big game to beat Boston on Thursday night.
Both the Celtics and the Thunder have had difficulty putting up big numbers on the scoreboard this season. Boston has averaged about 100 points per game this season, which is worst in the league. The Celtics have allowed the least points per game to make up for it, but eventually Boston’s offense will need to get it going.
The Celtics leading scorer is Jayson Tatum to begin the season. Tatum has put up an average of 17.5 points per game with 10.5 rebounds. Kyrie Irving is second on the team in points with 16.5 points per game. Gordan Hayward and Jaylen Brown have struggled to get it going offensively, but if they can turn it on, Boston’s offense should get better.
Oklahoma City’s offense has struggled to score this season as well. The Thunder have scored an average of 104 points per game to begin the season. Oklahoma City’s defense has been solid, but not good enough to win them any games.
Russell Westbrook saw his first action of the season in the Thunder’s last game. Westbrook scored 32 points and 12 rebounds. He spent a lot of time with the ball and it kept some of his teammates from quality chances. If Westbrook can open the court up for his teammates to take some open shots, it should help kickstart the Thunder’s offense.
The Thunder are still without Andre Roberson who is their starting Shooting Guard. Roberson is not great at the offensive side of the court, but he really helps get it going defensively. Oklahoma City could also be missing Alex Abrines for Thursday night’s game.
Boston could be without Aron Baynes on Thursday night. Baynes absence hurts the Celtics because of the amount of depth they have left without him. Baynes fills in at both Power Forward and Center off the bench. While Boston’s injury report does not hurt them as much as the Thunder’s, the Celtics could use the extra depth big man because they already play a lot of small ball.
I believe the Celtics have the better team, but I believe the Thunder will win on Thursday night. Oklahoma City is still hunting for that first win. The Thunder are too good of a team to go to much longer without winning. Westbrook is back in his second game, which should help settle him down. This means he will see the court better and help lead his team.
BetOnline has Boston favored by 1 point. The Celtics have struggled to begin this season as well, but they have a win, which makes a lot of people trust them over Oklahoma City. Boston’s lineup is good, but with all the injuries last season, they have not seemed to build that chemistry for this season. Every losing streak has to come to an end and I believe the Thunders will end on Thursday night.