Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Boston Celtics Preview, Prediction, and Picks
The Oklahoma City Thunder travel to the TD Garden for an inter-conference showdown with the Boston Celtics on Saturday night. The Thunder (6-9) are in the midst of a long rebuild but are playing inspired basketball through 15 games. The Celtics (8-8) are on the second of a back-to-back and will look to climb over the .500 mark with a win at home. Boston opens this game up as considerable home favorites.
Will the Oklahoma City Thunder cover the number as big road underdogs against the Boston Celtics?
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Boston Celtics Betting Lines
At Basketball Insiders, we get all of our game lines and information from the best betting sites. All of the game lines that are featured below are taken from BetUS.
Point Spread: Boston Celtics -9
Money Line: BOS -450/ OKC +350
Total: Over/Under 205.5
Check out our list of the finest Oklahoma sports betting sites.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Boston Celtics Injury Report
The Thunder have been without point guard Tre Mann for the last week. He remains questionable for this road tilt with an ankle injury.
Jaylen Brown (hamstring) and Robert Williams (knee) are both game-time decisions for this game. Brown is expected to play, but the C’s may hold out their young center Williams for another game.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Boston Celtics Preview
Dort Showing Offensive Improvement for OKC
The Thunder are playing as well as you’d expect, considering they gutted their roster over the last two seasons. Luguentz Dort has expanded his repertoire to include 17.2 points per game on 46% from the field. While Dort has been Oklahoma City’s top on-ball defender since breaking into the league three years ago as an undrafted free agent, his offensive game has taken a significant step forward lately, with Dort scoring 20 or more points in five consecutive games, including 34 in a 101-89 home win over Houston on Wednesday.
Dort hadn’t reached the 20-point milestone more than three times in a row before the current streak and his scoring performance against the Rockets was his second-highest in 101 career games. He’s been the lone bright spot in an otherwise disappointing start offensively. OKC is averaging a meager 98.8 points per game (29th) on 41.3% shooting. As long as they stay competitive, they will live with the growing pains.
Celtics Looking for Better Home Performance
Boston is averaging 108.3 points per game, good for 15th in the NBA. They’ve been struggling from beyond the arc (33.3%) but those numbers should trend up considering the talent in their backcourt. The C’s sit dead last in the NBA, allowing visiting teams to shoot a staggering 48% from the floor in addition to an 86% clip at the line.
Expect those numbers to improve as Jaylen Brown returns to game-action sometime this weekend. He remains a game-time decision for this matchup. Breakout center Robert Williams banged up his knee on Monday, but he figures to be out there in the second game of a back-to-back. He’s nearly averaging a double-double with 10 points and 9.2 rebounds through 15 games.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Boston Celtics Prediction and Pick
Luguentz Dort has expanded his NBA resume to include 17.2 points per game on 46% from the field. While Dort has been Oklahoma City’s top on-ball defender since breaking into the league three years ago as an undrafted free agent, his offensive game has taken a significant step forward lately. He will be tasked with shutting down Jayson Tatum, and although he’s heralded as an elite defender, Tatum will have his way with the young guard.
After a slow start, the Celtics are finding their groove covering the spread in seven of their last nine games. Although they may be without their young star in Jaylen Brown, the supporting cast should do enough to limit the Thunder and their 98 points per game. The Celtics are 11-3 ATS in their last 14 games facing West opponents dating back to last season. Take the C’s to win easily for the second night in a row.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Boston Celtics Totals Pick
Oklahoma City is averaging a pedestrian 98.8 points per game, good for 29th in the NBA. To make matters, they sit dead last in assists per game. The total for Oklahoma City is bloated, considering the fact Dort will have to carry both the offensive and defensive load. He will be gassed chasing around Tatum on D, which will hurt his production offensively. Take Oklahoma City to go under their projected team total.
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