NBA

Westbrook vs. Irving point guard battle will be key when Oklahoma City Thunder visits Boston Celtics

Sunday, February 3 at 2:00 PM ET

TD Garden

Coverage: ABC

The red-hot Oklahoma City Thunder visit the surging Boston Celtics in a potential NBA Finals preview on Sunday. The Thunder have won their last seven games while the Celtics are 8-1 in their last nine.

 

Everything is coming together for OKC
Scoring is evidently the main reason for Oklahoma City's success but it's important to look deeper into the numbers. The Thunder have been lights out from the field, with Paul George, Terrance Ferguson, Dennis Schroder, Jerami Grant and Patrick Patterson all shooting over 39.0 percent from 3-point range in their current winning streak.

Ferguson has always been consistent from beyond the arc but the improved performance from Schroeder and Grant is a welcome bonus. OKC has been an average shooting team overall so their recent surge is a great sign of improvement. The Thunder have a tremendous defense and the Celtics will challenge it with all the shooters they employ and it will be interesting to see how they try to control Kyrie Irving.

 

Kyrie Irving cooling off on his commitment to the Celtics
Two of the best point guards in the NBA clash on Sunday and this matchup can determine the outcome of the game. Russell Westbrook is closing in on his third straight season averaging a triple-double while Kyrie Irving is playing out of his mind this year.

Russell Westbrook

Regular season stats: 21.5 PPG, 10.9 APG, 10.9 RPG, 2.3 SPG (43 games)

Kyrie Irving

Regular season stats: 23.6 PPG, 6.9 APG, 4.9 RPG, 1.7 SPG (44 games)

Kyrie Irving seems to have shifted from his commitment to re-signing with the Celtics. This is what he said on Friday morning about his future: "I've spent the last eight years trying to do what everybody else wanted me to do in terms of making my decisions and trying to validate thru the media, thru other personnel, managers and I don't owe anybody sh*t."

There's been a lot of drama surrounding Irving lately and it has become increasingly worrying for the Celtics. Regardless of his feelings about his future in Boston, the star point guard is as dangerous as ever, playing some of the best basketball of his career.

Paul George seems to be getting most of the praise and understandably so but Russell Westbrook should be getting more attention. He has struggled with his shot at times so the Celtics will likely try to make him force shots, especially from 3-point range.

NBA Trends:

The Oklahoma City Thunder are:

6-1 ATS in their last seven games after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game

6-1 ATS in their last seven games overall

6-1 ATS in their last seven games after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game

15-7-1 ATS in their last 23 games against Atlantic Division opponents

The Boston Celtics are:

1-4 ATS in their last five games following an ATS win

The Celtics won the first meeting 101-95 on October 25 in Oklahoma City but this is a completely different Thunder team and Paul George has been on another level at both sides of the court, averaging 30.6 points, 8.1 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 2.8 steals in 37.4 minutes over his last 10 games and I don't see how Boston can stop him.

NBA Pick: Thunder at Jazz Sports

Check odds here: http://bit.ly/jazzsportsON

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