The winless Oklahoma City Thunder will host the Boston Celtics for an NBA battle on Thursday night. The Thunder are hoping to return to being one of the best teams in the rugged Western Conference after falling back a bit last season. The Boston Celtics are considered one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference and have one of the best young rosters in the NBA.
Oklahoma City has gone 0-3 to start the season, and they haven’t really been competitive in any of their first three games. Boston has been inconsistent so far in the 2018-19 season, and come into this game with a 2-2 record. The Celtics are a one-point underdog in this matchup against the Boston Celtics.
Westbrook Back For Thunder
Former MVP Russell Westbrook is back in the Thunder lineup after missing the first two games of the season. Westbrook poured in 32 points and had eight assists in his first game back with the team, but it wasn’t enough to lead them to a victory. Forward Paul George is averaging more than 25 points this season for the Thunder after re-signing with them in the offseason. The Thunder are still looking for more offensive production from other players besides Westbrook and George.
Defensively, the Thunder have been in the middle of the pack this season. Oklahoma City is giving up 115.7 points per game, but gave up a whopping 131 points to the Sacramento Kings in their most recent loss. Paul George, one of the top defenders in the NBA, is averaging three steals per game so far this season. Forward Jerami Grant is averaging 2.3 blocks per game while coming off the bench for the Thunder.
Celtics Struggling To Score
The Boston Celtics have one of the best rosters in the NBA, but they have not been able to put up many points this season. The Celtics are averaging just 99.8 points per game this season, which is the fourth worst total in the NBA. Jayson Tatum has been the offensive star for the Celtics so far this season, averaging 17.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.
All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward are still trying to shake off the rust after missing most or all of the 2017-18 season. Irving is averaging 17.3 points per game this season but is shooting just 39 percent from the field, which is well below his career average. Hayward is averaging just over eleven points per game and has been forced to miss a game already this season. Expect both Irving and Hayward to find their rhythm at some point this season, pushing Boston to the top of the East.
Boston Wins In OKC
Both the Thunder and Celtics are desperate for a win to help turn their season around. The Thunder have the ability to put up a ton of points, but the Boston Celtics will make life difficult for Russell Westbrook. The Celtics aren’t going to stay quiet offensively for long, and they should break out in this game. Bet the Boston Celtics +1.0 to beat the Thunder in OKC on Thursday night.