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Tag Archives: Boston Celtics

Say it Ain’t So, Wes Welker

New England Patriots wide receiver and popular fan favorite Wes Welker had his picture taken while at the Thunder-Boston game.  SCANDAL.

If I apply Occam’s Razor to such a visual catastrophe, the answer becomes obvious.

Wes Welker is clearly a double agent who is trying to convoy secret information about the Patriots to the Thunder, who planned on relaying that undermining information to Jacob Lacey, Oklahoma State alum and current Indianapolis Colts defensive back, to use against the Patriots on Sunday.  But the joke is on Welker, because his insidious effort was undone by ManningFace.

I’m onto you, Wes Welker.

In the alternative, less likely scenario, it could be because Welker was born in Oklahoma City.

h/t KSK guys

11/20 Daily Links

A few links from around the league that look at last night’s big win, as well as the upcoming challenge.

What the pros are saying:

Game 12 Results: Thunder Persevere, Shock Celtics

Final Score: Thunder 89, Celtics 84

Record: 8-4

Stat Leaders

Points: Westbrook with 31; Kevin Garnett with 16

Rebounds: Ibaka, Sefolosha with 7; O’Neal, Pierce with 6

Assists: Westbrook with 7, Rondo with 7

“I knew going into the game that we would have to play just an ugly game”-Scott Brooks

I can’t say that I saw that one coming.  Kevin Durant was hurt.  Green was still hurt.  Westbrook had a terrible game the last time they faced off.  I could boast that I saw certain elements that could have unfolded, but that isn’t much of a prediction at all, merely supposition.  As I watched the second half unfold, I felt like I was watching a college basketball game.  Neither side was playing particularly well and the defenses were playing better than the offenses.  The Thunder slowed the game down, making each possession increase in value.  One guy was carrying the load on offense (Westbrook) and the underdogs were shocking the big guys for three quarters.  The more the game dragged on, the more the underdogs believed they could pull off the upset.  Suddenly guys who weren’t normally contributing were finding ways to get a put-back or a lose ball.   Suddenly it’s midway through the fourth quarter and people are starting to believe.

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Game 12: Thunder at Celtics Rematch

As of 3:30PM, it is still unknown as to whether Durant will be suiting up tonight, due to a sprained ankle sustained in the Rockets game.  Obviously this will impact the overall game to a great degree, so expectations may need to be tempered.

***

Tipoff: 7:00PM EST

Nearly two weeks ago, the defending Eastern Conference Champ Boston Celtics came into the Thunder Arena to test our young team.  As you probably also recall, after strategic bursts in both offense and defense as well as an ample helping of veteran savvy, the Celtics dispatched the Thunder, leaving the team demoralized and confused at 3-3.  I wish there were a little bit more time in between the first game and the rematch, which is this evening, so we could have a better picture at where the two teams are headed.  Never the less, we can still get an idea of what is to come by taking a look at what we have learned.

WHAT 3 THINGS DID THE THUNDER LEARN FROM GAME 1?

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Kevin Durant could miss OKC Thunder’s game against Boston Celtics

Tweet This

With the Thunder’s next big test coming up tonight, a rematch of their home loss to the Celtics, the great and legendary Jeff Clark at CelticsBlog has challenged me to a Twitter throw-down – to Tweet the Thunder roster using 160 characters or less.

A reductioadabsuro-tonitrus, as it were.

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11/19 Daily Links

Thunder in Boston tonight.  Get ready.

What the pros are saying:

Game 11 Results: Business—>Handled

Final Score: Thunder 116, Rockets 99

Record: 7-4

Stat Leaders:

Points:  Scola with 26, Durant with 24

Rebounds: Ibaka with 8, Scola with 8

Assists: Westbrook with 12, Maynor with 5, Durant with 4

Because if you’re a really good team, you should be doing what the Lakers do, and just taking care of business every night. – Bill Simmons, 11/8 podcast

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11/8 Daily Links

The Thunder find themselves at .500 again, after last night’s tough loss.  Lamentations abound.

What the pros are saying:

What I’m saying:

  • Royce points out that it was Westbrook who essentially forced the Thunder surge in the third quarter to get back in the game.  This does need to be acknowledged, but it’s important to look at it in context.  He wouldn’t have had to do it if he had played better in the first half, so at best you could argue that he finished at a net zero contribution.  I’d really like to see the team decide in the 76ers game that they’re going to get aggressive early, and see how it plays out.
  • Amidst the offensive futility last night, I was negligent in noting that the Thunder’s interior defense was vastly improved last night.  Granted, Garnett and Pierce are not classic interior post players, but for the first time this season I didn’t feel like they were getting handily outplayed in the paint.Part of this should be a credit to Ibaka, who held his own in his first start of the season.  Having him as a key contributor early on will greatly help their bench play as they reacquire Nick Collison and Jeff Green into the lineup.

Game 6 Results: Well Well Well, THAT Was Interesting

Final Score: Celtics 92, Thunder 83

Stat Leaders:

Scoring: Durant with 34

Rebounds: Ibaka with 11

Assists: Westbrook, Rondo with 10

Post game analysis

The Thunder just finished facing their first real Test in evaluating their chances of a deep playoff run this year.  Unfortunately, the results didn’t come in as hoped for, but sadly, as expected.  The Thunder lost this game by nine, but it felt much greater than that because for the majority of the game the lead hovered in the 15-20 point range, which is a tantalizing mid-point between having hope, and beating the outgoing traffic.

In quick reflection and analysis, these were the two key factors in the loss:

1) Westbrook played his worst game of the 2010 season.

Thus far, Westbrook is 2-2 versus the rest of the league’s good PG’s – winning over Rose and Stuckey, losing badly to Williams and Rondo.   Playing against a team like the Celtics highlights how absolutely imperative it is to have a cerebral point guard when you’re facing a disciplined team like the Celtics.  There is nothing all that complex about what the Celtics do defensively.  They play hard on-the-ball defense, they deny passing lanes extremely well, they rotate efficiently, and when the game matters the most, they can ratchet up the defensive intensity like no other team currently in the league.  When they do this, which usually happens at the ends of quarters, it becomes completely dependent on a patient and resourceful PG to be deliberate and mistake free, to protect the ball, generate good shots for his offense, and to not allow his team to fall behind by too much.  Unfortunately Westbrook did not handle the Celtics’ defensive onslaught very well.

His poor play cannot really be encapsulated by statistics, but if you want a couple, compare his stat line vs Rondo:

Player            fgm-a     points          assists     rebounds     steals    turnovers
Rondo              5-8…………10……………..10………………5………………3……………..4
Westbrook       6-16…………16……………..10………………4………………4……………..8

You want to evaluate a point man?  Look at his shooting percentage, and look at his turnovers.  These stats are highlighted against a defensive team.  Repeatedly, When the game was competitive, he frequently rushed shots early in the shot clock and failed to get his teammates the ball in good scoring position.  Statistically, it looks like he outplayed Rondo, with better points, rebounds, steals, and equal on assists.  But then you look at his shooting percentage and those 8 turnovers, and you begin to get a glimpse to how badly he looked while playing.

Mounting a comeback and managing the game lies on the play of an experienced point guard.  Westbrook isn’t there yet, but hopefully this lesson will stay with him.

2) The Thunder don’t know how to put together a game plan.

The game’s outcome can be summarized by looking at six minutes of play.  These six minutes encapsulate perfectly how veteran teams earn wins.

First Quarter
Time left: 2:08
Score: Celtics up 20-19
Celtics call timeout
The result: the Celtics end the quarter on an 8-2 run, with the Thunder shooting 1-5.
First quarter score: 28-21.

Second Quarter
Time left: 2:50
Score: Celtics up 45-34
Celtics call timeout
The result: Celtics go on a 13-4 run, with the Thunder shooting 0-3 with two turnovers.
Halftime score: Celtics up 58-37.

And that was the ball game.  Two strategic timeouts were followed by brief surges of heightened defense and a deliberate offense.  The Celtics knew that by targeting these two moments early on in the game that they could put the Thunder on their back heels early.  And by doing so, they could play right into the Thunder’s weakness so far this season – an inability to have the patience to mount a three quarter comeback.

The Celtics did not play great in this game, but they played deliberately, focused, and knew exactly how and when to turn the screws to demoralize the Thunder.   It was a beautiful if painful lesson of what separates deep playoff teams from young upstarts who want to earn their playoff stripes.  I hope that the Thunder take this loss to heart and carefully study what great teams do, when they do it, and why.

Round one, Celtics.

Next game: Wednesday, Nov. 10 against the 76ers