I know, I know. I have only written about two NBA games so far this season, and both of them have involved the Celtics. But they’re the team I feel the most comfortable capping at this point in the season. And I also believe that the Celtics will only remain undervalued in the market for so long. A blown double-digit lead a few games back cost us a 2-0 start. But we’ll get another chance to get back into the black with a matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder Wednesday.
Oklahoma City is a mess this season. The Thunder lost Kevin Durant before the season started to a foot injury and Russell Westbrook followed with a hand injury in the first game of the season. The loss of that star duo that makes up as much of the Thunder as any pair for its respective team in the NBA means that OKC is a jumbled group of role players with no real idea of how to win effectively on their own. The Thunder have stumbled out to a 2-6 record, with both wins coming at home. That mark includes a loss at Milwaukee last night, where the lowly Bucks took down a Thunder team that could score just 78 points. Reggie Jackson put in 29 of those, but he took 21 field goal attempts to get there. Jackson was a topic of concern earlier in the week, when Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka seemed unhappy with the young player’s shot selection. OKC doesn’t appear ready to compete with the guys they have in place now; and it travels to Boston to play the second leg of a back-to-back against a Celtics team that has impressed early on.
After that tough loss against Toronto, Boston has written the ship a little bit – taking care of Indiana at home and then blowing out Chicago for much of Saturday night’s game before hanging on to win by five. That win came without the services of Rajon Rondo, who should be back after getting the screw in his hand removed following off-season surgery. The procedure was one Rondo knew he would have before the season started and shouldn’t affect him ahead of Wednesday’s matchup. And with Rondo healthy, the Celtics should continue to roll right along in a Brad Stevens offense that has the entire team active, alert and scoring a whole bunch of points. Boston enters the game second in the NBA with over 106 points per game. Thought to be one of the weakest teams in the NBA at the start of the season, it will take a little longer before the Celtics aren’t a complete mystery in the league. Boston should contend for a playoff spot in the weak Eastern Conference.
Free Pick: Boston -5.5
2014 NBA: 1-1 -0.10