The Celtics are gradually improving as a collective group, but do they have what it takes to upset a 6-3 Oklahoma Thunder team with the best 1-2 combo in the league in Westbrook & Durant?
Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. EST tonight at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. According to 5 Dimes Sportsbook, the Thunder are a 5.5 point betting favorite and the total for the game is listed at 210.5 on our NBA Odds board. Right off the bat, the 5.5 points appears to be a bit low and the total is right on the mark. Except for Serge Ibaka, these two teams are more consumed with putting the basketball in the hoop than playing defense.
A Very Underrated Player
It's very difficult to say who is the best player in the NBA? Most people say Stephen Curry due to his ability to shoot well and make the big shot. Not only that, Curry picked up a ring quite easily last season. When you're talking overall game, Russell Westbrook's name doesn't always get menetioned, but should as he's turning into a triple-double machine.
There was some statistic that I can't recall the exact numbers, but Russell Westbrook has the most triple doubles from a player that's played under 35 minutes per game all -time in the NBA.
Westbrook is an above average shooter with great strength that can drive to the hoop from one end of the court to the other faster than any other player in the NBA. Westbrook does have a tendency to get reckless, but when you're this good a basketball player, natural instinct tells the player to take matters into his own hands.
Westbrook has back to back triple doubles in his last 2 games and for the season, he's averaging 25.2 points, 10.9 assists, and 8.6 assists per game.
It's almost laughable when people talk about players such as Jason Kidd, who had a tendency to get triple doubles. Nobody does it better than Russell Westbrook and if the Boston Celtics are to have any chance in this game against him, KD, and Serge Ibaka, guys like Isaiah Thomas and Jared Sullinger need to be at the top of their game.
Think about how good Russell Westbrook is and I didn't even mention Kevin Durant, who is averaging 28.1 points and 7.3 rebounds to lead the Thunder and Serge Ibaka at 13.2 points, 8 rebounds, and 2.78 blocks as one of the best defenders in this game.
With additions that they made from last season of player such as Enes Kanter the Thunder need to take the next step and challenge for the NBA Title as long as everyone stays healthy as this is a team that has been injury-plagued in the past.
A "Me First" Player
Every team has one and every team needs one. There's no surprise why Isaiah Thomas has moved around from team to team with his great ability to score and at a rapid pace; he's a selfish player.
In this case, the Celtics need a selfish player that looks to shoot the ball as Thomas leads the Celtics in scoring at 20.9 points and 6.1 assists per game. The 6.1 assists might indicate that he's not selfish, but he has a tendency to take unnecessary shots and that can cost a team a ball game.
Look for Thomas and Jared Sullinger, who plays a limited amount of minutes to have big games as the Celtics are coming off of an upset victory over the Atlanta Hawks, 106-93. That said, the Thunder should be able to handle the Celtics and the spread at home.