NBA Picks: Celtics vs. Thunder

Joe Catalano

Saturday, March 9, 2013 5:39 PM GMT

Being that this is an early game, we want to provide you with some good information, but unfortunately the odds aren’t out yet. I’m expecting the Thunder to be a moderate to heavy favorite. My guess would be around 7 to 9 points.

Chesapeake Energy Arena will be rocking Sunday afternoon as the Boston Celtics visit the Oklahoma City Thunder. With a Westbrook- Durant 1-2 combo, the Thunder pack a heavy punch and might very well be the best team in the NBA.

Tip-off is scheduled for Sunday, 1:00 pm ET in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. :So far, as of Saturday afternoon, the NBA odds have not been released for this game.

Sunday Game

Green is Back

Not only have the Celtics withstood the pressure of being without all-star point guard Rajon Rondo, but former Thunder player, Jeff Green, is finally fitting into the Celtics fold and becoming an important part of this team coming off of the bench.

Look for Green to be motivated as he plays his old team. Green is averaging 14.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.6 blocks in his last 10 games. I know that Kendrick Perkins importance to the Thunder doesn’t reflect on the stat sheet, but Jeff Green is looking mighty appealing these days.

Ageless Wonders

Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett a.k.a “The Truth” and “The Big Ticket” are the glue that keeps this franchise together. When you look at Paul Pierce, throw the stat sheet out. He’s one of the most underrated, clutch players in NBA history.

When has Paul Pierce missed and important shot to keep the Celtics in a game or give them a lead? You can count it on one hand. Pierce continues to go hard and strong at the ripe old age of 35 and I don’t expect him to lack energy against guys that are more than 10 years younger than him.

Kevin Garnett is another player that seems to get stronger as time goes on. Without Rondo, he knows that for the Celtics to have a legitimate shot in the playoffs, he has to be playing his best. This guy is the definition of blue collar and warrior all rolled up into one.

KG is averaging 18 points and 8 rebounds in his last 3 games. Look for Garnett to be tough on the inside; he wants Durant to work for those points.

The Perfect Team

The Oklahoma City Thunder might not be on a 17 game winning streak like Miami, but they’ll take their modest 4 game winning streak and a 46-16 record. The reason why this team is so good is because it has 2 of the best players in the league in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and everyone else on the team plays their role well.

Supporting Cast

Serge Ibaka has upped his offensive game this season and is a major defensive force, swatting opponent’s shots into the stands. Kevin Martin is a one trick pony, but coming off of the bench, he’ll give the Thunder 15 points per game with his outside shooting ability. Kendrick Perkins has whipped his body into shape and is the needed physical presence on the defensive end for OKC. Kevin Durant can be considered a bit soft, but that’s why players like Perkins are on the squad. He’s also good for the occasional putback.

Even Thabo Sefolosha is starting to make his presence felt off the bench. Sefolosha can give the Thunder a guy that can play on the inside, but can also hit the 3-ball. He’s coming off of a solid 13 point performance in an easy win over Charlotte in which most of the Thunder’s starters sat for the 4th quarter.

Outcome

OKC has been on fire. Russell Westbrook will dominate at the point guard position without Rondo. If he can dominate “CP3”, this will surely be “cake”. Although I do expect some resistance from the Celtics, the Thunder are too talented a team and have major momentum coming into this game. Look for OKC to cover and use them as your NBA betting pick for this game.

NBA Picks:  Oklahoma City at Pinnacle