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Thunder vs. Celtics: Boston's Defensive Woes Will Continue Against OKC

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 16:  Kendrick Perkins #5 of the Oklahoma City Thunder heads to the net as Jermaine O'Neal #7 of the Boston Celtics defends on January 16, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Boston Celtics 97-88. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistNovember 23, 2012

Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo knows why the team sits with a disappointing 6-6 record to start the 2012-13 NBA season (h/t WEEI).

Rajon Rondo: ‘We’re making a lot of dumb mistakes’ on defense dlvr.it/2Wf1Yn

WEEI (@WEEI) November 22, 2012

Dumb mistakes on defense have plagued this team all season long, but that only scratches the surface of the depth of its defensive issues.

Opponents are shooting 46.3 percent from the field against the Celtics—only the Portland Trail Blazers (50.1), Cleveland Cavaliers (48.9) and Phoenix Suns (47.2) allow a higher shooting percentage to opponents, according to Yahoo! Sports.

It was only a year ago that Boston held opponents to the lowest field-goal percentage in the league—41.9 percent—making its inability to at least make things difficult for the opposition this season incredibly baffling.

Things came to a head on Wednesday night when the San Antonio Spurs shot 58.4 percent from the field en route to beating the Celtics by 12, 112-100.

Unfortunately for the Celtics, things don't get any easier on Friday night. The defending Western Conference champions, the Oklahoma City Thunder, will walk into TD Garden in Boston looking to win their fourth consecutive game.

Led by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the Thunder are shooting 48 percent from the field. Ironically, that's exactly the same as the Celtics.

However, unlike Boston, Oklahoma City's defense has been excellent thus far in 2012. The team have held opponents to less than 43 percent shooting from the field, due largely in part to the Thunder's youth and athleticism.

That youth will trump the experience of the Celtics on Friday night, leading the Thunder to a win in Boston that will be far easier than the score makes it appear.

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