Boston Celtics vs Oklahoma City Thunder

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

New faces will be on Boston’s bench Saturday when the Celtics visit the Oklahoma City Thunder. Boston acquired Evan Fournier from Orlando in exchange for a pair of second-round draft picks. The Celtics also acquired Mo Wagner in exchange for center Daniel Theis in a deal with the Chicago Bulls. Fournier will be a big addition for Boston as the forward is averaging a career-high 19.7 points this season. Boston is eighth in the Eastern Conference standings and needed an additional scorer down the stretch. Boston is 21-23 and will play Milwaukee on Friday before heading off to Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma City also was busy on Thursday’s trade deadline. The Thunder announced that recently acquired Meyers Leonard was released. In addition, Oklahoma City sent guard George Hill to Philadelphia as part of a three-way deal with the New York Knicks. Oklahoma City received Tony Bradley in exchange for Hill as well as a pair of second-round draft picks. Terrance Ferguson moves from Oklahoma City to the Knicks with the Thunder acquiring Austin Rivers from New York in the transaction. Oklahoma City is 19-25 and 13 ½ games behind first-place Utah in the Northwest division

Celtics On Fringe in Eastern Conference

At 21-23, the Boston Celtics hold down the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference standings and are a half-game ahead of the Indiana Pacers. Boston has played below their expected standards for the season. Therefore, it’s not a surprise they went out and picked up a proven scorer in Evan Fournier. Boston is scoring an average of 112.2 points per game led by a pair of 20-point scorers. Jayson Tatum is leading the Celtics with an average of 24.8 points per game but Jaylen Brown is close behind with an average of 24.7 points per game. Marcus Smart is the assist leader with an average of 5.4 per game. Boston averages 22.9 assists but is turning the ball over too often at a rate of 13.3 miscues per game giving the Celtics an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.7.

On the boards, Boston is averaging 43.8 rebounds per game with 32.9 on the defensive boards and 10.9 off the offense glass. Tristan Thompson, who is currently sidelined in Covid protocol, is averaging a team-high 8.4 rebounds per game, while the second leading rebounder is Tatum with an average of 6.8 per game. The Celtics average 7.9 steals and 5.1 blocked shots per game with Tatum the leader in steals with an average of 1.3 per game and Robert Williams III the swat commander for Boston with a team-high average of 1.7 blocked shots per game.

Injury Report: Besides Tristan Thompson, Semi OjeleyeIs questionable for Saturday and Romeo Langford is out indefinitely

Oklahoma City struggling to score

Oklahoma City has struggled all season putting points up on the board as the Thunder are 27th in the NBA with a scoring average of 106.4 points per game. Oklahoma City’s leading scorer is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (out injured) with an average of 23.7 points per game, but the next highest scorer is Al Horford at 14.2 points per game. The Thunder are shooting only 44.9% overall and 35.0% from downtown and only two of the top five scorers are shooting over 45%. The leader in assists for Oklahoma City is Gilgeous-Alexander with an average of 5.9 per game. Oklahoma City averages 23.0 assists and 14.1 turnovers per game for a 1.6 assist-to-turnover ratio.

On the boards, Oklahoma City is averaging 44.5 rebounds per game with 36.2 off the defensive boards and 8.3 per game off the offensive glass. Darius Bazley (out injured) is the king of the boards for Oklahoma City with an average of 7.5 rebounds per game. Oklahoma City averages 7.0 steals and 4.5 blocked shots per game with Hamidou Diallo the leader in steals with an average of 1.0 per game and Isaiah Roby the leader in blocked shots with an average of 0.7 per game. Oklahoma City is allowing an average of 112.0 points per game which is 17th in the NBA.

Injury Report: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Darius Bazley and Josh Hall are all out indefinitely

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
Rating:

Although the Boston Celtics are not playing up to their expectations, the Celtics are in a far better place at this point than Oklahoma City. The Thunder are without their leading scorer and leader in assists Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who is out with a foot injury. In addition, leading rebounder and fourth-leading scorer Darius Bazley is sidelined indefinitely with a shoulder injury. Josh Hall remains out indefinitely as well with a knee injury. Oklahoma City scores an average of only 106.4 points per game and an average of 35.6 points per game will be out of the lineup due to injuries

Prediction:
Boston Celtics -9

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Full-Game Total Pick
Rating:

Oklahoma City will be without its leading scorer Shai Gilgeous-Alexander who is averaging 23.7 points per game. That leaves Al Horford as the leading active scorer at 14.2 points per game, while fourth leading scorer Darius Bazley is also out which takes another 11.9 points per game out of the picture. The total has finished under in 3 of Oklahoma City’s last five games overall.

Prediction:
UNDER