Celtics: Relishing big boy challenges

One of the Celtics' better wins of the season came against the Thunder in Boston back in November.
One of the Celtics’ better wins of the season came against the Thunder in Boston back in November.

 

The Celtics are playing their best basketball of the season, and they’ll need to keep it that way if they want to win Friday against Atlanta and on the road Sunday in Oklahoma City.

The game against the Thunder should already be circled on your calendar. The Celtics are fresh off their most impressive road win of the season – an 83-81 win over the Indiana Pacers. Boston scored the game’s last 11 points including the final two with 0.5 seconds remaining.

But it’s how they feed off of a win like that that will matter.

“Hopefully this can propel us the rest of the year going into the playoffs,” Paul Pierce said on CSNNE after that win.

Boston is just 12-18 on the road this season, the worst road record for any current Eastern Conference playoff team.

In contrast, the Thunder have 27 home wins, the most in the Western Conference. So while a win in Indiana on the second night of a road back-to-back was huge, a win in Oklahoma City would be even more impressive.

It will be one of the hardest tests of the season.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook make up one of, if not the most lethal offensive duo in the NBA. Durant averages a league-leading 28.6 points per game while Westbrook ranks 6th with 23.6 points per game.

It’ll be tough to really limit those two players’ production. What Boston will have to do, however, is compete in the paint and on the boards.

The Thunder have two legit big men in their starting lineup: Serge Ibaka and old friend Kendrick Perkins. They average a combined 13.7 rebounds and 4.1 blocks per game, and we already know that when it comes to big men for the Celtics, they have big problems.

How effective have the Thunder been from close, you ask? On offense, they’re converting 65.7-percent of their attempts less than five feet from the hoop, good for 3rd in the NBA according to NBA.com. They’re also allowing opponents to score on just 57.6-percent of attempts in the same area, 8th in the NBA.

That means a relatively undersized Celtics team will once again have their hands full down low and on the glass.

But if they can pull off a win, it’ll go a long way in preparing them for the future … and maybe even a possible rematch in June.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Sierra Leone Ebola patient, recovered from family, dies…

An Ebola patient whose family sparked a nationwide hunt when they forcefully removed her from a treatment center and took her to a traditional healer has died.

Local

VIDEO: Cop reassigned as NYPD investigates alleged head…

An officer alleged to have stomped on a Brooklyn man's head last week had his gun taken away and placed on modified duty.

National

New York Times calls for legalization of pot

The New York Times editorial board on Saturday endorsed a repeal of the federal ban on marijuana, becoming the largest paper in the nation to back the idea.

National

Two injured after cable snaps on Ohio amusement…

(Reuters) - A cable on a large swing ride at an Ohio amusement park snapped and struck two riders as the swing was in motion,…

Music

Newport Folk Festival: Photo gallery of 35 moments…

As has been the tradition since Bob Dylan plugged in a bajillion years ago, the Newport Folk Festival embraces more musical genres than its name implies.

Music

MKTO: Behind the bromance

MKTO's Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller talk about the American Dream tour, Demi Lovato and getting turned down by girls.

Arts

James Earl Jones and Rose Byrne head to…

Two-time Tony winner James Earl Jones returns to the New York stage next month as an eccentric grandfather in a revival of the 1930s comedy…

Movies

Box office: Scarlett Johansson wins battle of brains…

Scarlett Johansson's "Lucy" handily dispatched with Dwayne Johnson's "Hercules" over the weekend.

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

MLB

Yankees GM Brian Cashman breaks down art of…

The action frequently accelerates as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, as it will on Thursday.

Auto racing

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Wellbeing

This Week In Health: Friends share similar DNA,…

Friends share similar DNA, study finds Location: U.S. Study subjects: Nearly 2,000 people Results: When it comes to our social networks, it seems that birds of…

Education

Are liberal arts colleges turning away from the…

Bryn Mawr College, a small women's college located just outside of Philadelphia, announced last week that it would be making standardized tests like the SAT…

Education

Recent grads discover school superintendent plagiarized parts of…

  Two recent high school graduates made a surprising discovery about the commencement speech their school superintendent delivered at their graduation: portions of it was copied…

Career

Feeling stuck? Get out of the entry-level job…

Television and movies may be littered with 20-something characters who seem directionless when it comes to their careers, but author Mary Traina says she finds…