Nets (3-11, 1-8 road) vs. Thunder (9-6, 6-3 home)
TV: FS Oklahoma
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM, 1300 AM The Buzz Tulsa)
Time: 7:00 PM CST
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 110.6 (3rd), Nets – 100.3 (28th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 104.9 (18th), Nets – 108.3 (26th)
It’s amazing what the return of a former MVP will do for a team. If Russell Westbrook is the adrenaline of the team, then Kevin Durant is the melatonin that relaxes them and calms them down. It was just one game, but it was probably the most complete game the Thunder have played this season. Outside of some turnovers in the first quarter, the Thunder offense looked crisp and efficient. The defense was more in tune and aggressive, especially on the interior. In essence, it was Thunder basketball.
This is the first meeting of the season between the Thunder and the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets swept the season series last year, as they played the Thunder twice early in the season when they were without both Durant and Westbrook.The Opponent
Brooklyn comes into the game with a 3-11 record, having lost 4 of their last 6. They’re a franchise that is currently in a terrible position, as they mortgaged their future with the Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce trade from 3 seasons ago, and will not have their own first round pick until 2019. The team currently can’t build from the draft, and a much of their salary cap invested in two players are not franchise cornerstone type players.
Their current core of Brook Lopez, Joe Johnson, Thaddeus Young, and Jarrett Jack would’ve been a good core if this was 2011. But in 2015, they are a slow bunch that struggles to compete in an athletic NBA. Their rookie SF, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, is an infusion of energy to this team, but offers little on the offensive end outside of transition points and straight line drives. Their bench is one of the worst collection of reserves in the league and features retreads such as Andrea Bargnani, Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington, and Thomas Robinson.3 Big Things
Trap Game Potential
This game falls between Durant’s return game on Monday and Reggie Jackson’s return to OKC on Friday. There is a big potential for a let-down in effort because there’ll be nothing there emotionally. If the Thunder play their game, they should have no problem with the Nets. But we’ve seen the Thunder play down to their opponent before.
The Nets will try to slow this game down and turn it into a half court game. The Thunder excel in getting out in transition. If the Thunder can stay aggressive on defense like they did in the Jazz game and cause some turnovers, the Nets will likely fold pretty quickly. One of the things that allowed the Thunder to stay aggressive in the Utah game was the fact the Utah doesn’t shoot that well from the perimeter. The Nets are very similar in that respect.
You’ve been challenged. Your move.
Happy Thanksgiving, DT. I hope your bellies are filled and your hearts are happy. Thunder Up!