Oklahoma City Thunder Stat Monkey Brief: Thunder/Celtics (11/23/12)

According to Thunder writer Matt Keith, this game could turn into a shootout quickly.

Back on the road again, the Thunder have to venture into Boston tonight to take on the Celtics. By all indications, the Celtics are going to have to outshoot the Thunder if they hope to win, because the numbers say they will not stop Oklahoma City. Boston is one of the worst teams at forcing opponents to miss, ranking 27th with a defensive effective field goal percentage of .504. The Thunder meanwhile continue to be one of the best shooting teams in all of basketball, posting an eFG of .533, second in the NBA.

There is of course always hope for Boston, and they should look to Oklahoma City's last outing against Los Angeles for inspiration.

Crashing the Glass

The Thunder and Clippers went into overtime on Wednesday night before Oklahoma City eventually pulled the game out. Although the Clippers trailed for much of the game, the Thunder could never put them away and a couple of key statistics stand out. One is offensive rebounding. L.A. posted a 34.7 offensive rebounding percentage for the game, a very solid number and the second-best for the Clippers all season. Boston enters the game with the worst offensive rebounding percentage, securing only 16.6 percent of available offensive rebounds. The Thunder survived a lot of second-chance points from a Clippers team that is below average in offensive rebounding, but if they allow the Celtics to have a good day on the offensive glass, there should be a little concern.

Sloppy, Sloppy, Sloppy

A second statistic that Oklahoma City had to overcome to beat L.A. was turnovers. Watching games, it is pretty apparent that the Thunder struggle mightily with turnovers at times, and the numbers confirm that they are truly awful. 16.6 of every 100 Thunder plays ends in a turnover. That is the worst turnover percentage in all of basketball by nearly an entire percentage point. The Celtics do not do a great job of forcing mistakes, with an opponent turnover percentage of 14.0, 17th in the NBA. But Oklahoma City cannot afford to be so sloppy with the ball tonight.

Less than a week ago, the Celtics got trounced by lowly Pistons, while the Thunder are coming off of a win over the strong Clippers. Will an old Boston team be desperate enough to reverse these teams current trends? We will find out tonight.