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Welcome to Chesapeake Energy Arena for Thunder-Celtics

Posted by Baxter Holmes, Globe Staff  March 10, 2013 10:47 AM

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- Now, this will quite a test for these post-Rondo Celtics, who have gone 14-4 since their fearless floor general was down for the season, the third best record in the league over that span.

Sure, there was the double-overtime win against Miami, but some could argue the Celtics won that game on emotion. Sure, there was the loss against the Lakers, but many could argue the Lakers won that game on emotion. And, yes, there were spirited wins against Philadelphia, Indiana and Atlanta, but none of those teams are quite like the Thunder, a powerhouse squad with young and talented athletes to spare, unlike Boston.

Still, the Celtics have won five straight and have risen to sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings. They have momentum and are playing together.

But this game could one where these Celtics are brought back down to Earth with a humbling loss against a superior opponent or one where they prove in their most emphatic way yet that they are, even without Rajon Rondo, not to be taken lightly.

STARTING LINEUPS
BOSTON CELTICS (34-27)

PG Avery Bradley
SG Courtney Lee
SF Paul Pierce
PF Brandon Bass
C Kevin Garnett

OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (46-16)
PG Russell Westbrook
SG Thabo Sefolosha
SF Kevin Durant
PF Serge Ibaka
C Kendrick Perkins

Officials: Monty McCutchen, Jason Phillips, Scott Wall

TV, radio: 1 p.m., ABC, Comcast SportsNet, WEEI (93.7 FM)

Pregame notes:

• Celtics forward Jeff Green will make his first appearance in Oklahoma City since the Thunder traded him to the Celtics in 2011 in a deal that sent Perkins to OKC.

• D.J. White signed his second 10-day contract this morning. Shavlik Randolph, who is with the Celtics, is expected to sign another 10-day contract soon; his expires at midnight. Doc Rivers said he has told Danny Ainge that he wants to keep both of them around.

• Rivers on defending Kevin Durant: "You pray. You do. I'm serious."

• The most interesting matchup of the day, for me, is Bradley vs. Westbrook.

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