The Celtics know as well as anyone the value of depth — when your starters go down, there's always someone else waiting in the wings to replace them. Their Friday night opponent is starting to figure that out as well.
The Oklahoma City Thunder will take on the Celtics on Friday without either of their regular starting forwards. Jeff Green will be out as expected with a sprained ankle, and now leading scorer Kevin Durant is suffering from ankle pain as well and will be missing in action. Without two of their best players, the Thunder will be forced to make some adjustments.
Their best five-man unit now is a group that includes two centers (Nenad Krstic, Serge Ibaka) and three guards (James Harden, Thabo Sefolosha, Russell Westbrook). They'll look to play an inside-out brand of basketball, establishing the post early, but if that fails, it'll be up to Westbrook to take over the offense.
Without Durant, everything changes. The game plan will be dramatically different for the Celtics, who have managed to dodge two young stars in a row this week — first John Wall from the visiting Wizards, and now Durant.
Here's how it all shakes out for C's-Thunder:
Rajon Rondo, PG
Ray Allen, SG
Paul Pierce, SF
Kevin Garnett, PF
Shaquille O'Neal, C
Nenad Krstic, C
Serge Ibaka, PF
James Harden, SF
Thabo Sefolosha, SG
Russell Westbrook, PG