Looking ahead in the NBA

OKLAHOMA CITY AT BOSTON: Friday, 4 p.m. PST TV: ESPN

Just in case you need a breather from the Heat, or now hope to go the rest of your life without hearing its name.... The Thunder started the season as everyone's young up-and-comer with the Celtics all but forgotten. The Celtics have since gone from small, thin and creaky to huge, deep and high-energy. Rather than hold the pace down to keep LeBron James and Dwyane Wade out of the open court last week in Miami, they ran it down the Heat's throat. The 5-3 Thunder hasn't even looked that good, averaging 101 points to opponents' 104, shooting 44% to their 49%. Kevin Durant is at 39%. The Thunder is No. 30 in threes with 30 — 10 fewer than No. 29 Toronto. And the Celtics play great defense, specializing in making teams shoot from the outside.

— Mark Heisler

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