Preview 47 of 82: Nets @ Thunder
Time: 7:00 PM CT
TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma
Radio: WWLS (98.1 FM OKC / 97.1 FM Tulsa)
The Thunder was so good in Saturday afternoon’s game against Cleveland that the Cavs are now questioning their whole existence. The OK3 + Steven Adams combined for an earth-shattering 113 points off 44-0f-68 shooting. Russell Westbrook recorded a season-high 20 assists (1 rebound short of a triple-double) while both Adams and Carmelo Anthony had huge double-doubles (Adams 25 points, Anthony 29 points). The Thunder also held LeBron James to 18 points — seven shy of what he needed to reach 30,000 career points.
The Thunder isn’t in peak playoff form yet, but definitely moving in the right direction. With Saturday’s win, the Thunder is now 5-2 against the top three teams in both conferences (Boston, Toronto, Cleveland, Golden State, Houston, and San Antonio*) and 18-8 since December 1. The Thunder has struggled against sub-.500 teams, which includes a previous loss to the Nets. However, in January, the Thunder only has one loss against the six teams it has faced with a record of .500 or below. The Thunder (26-20) is looking to add to a four-game winning streak with a win against the Nets (18-29) tonight.
*Technically, the Timberwolves are third in the West. However, they just moved into this spot yesterday, whereas the Spurs have firmly held the three-seed all season up to this point.
- Jeremy Lin: Out – Knee
Nets: Spencer Dinwiddie, Allen Crabbe, DeMarre Carroll, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Tyler Zeller
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Thunder O & D
Nets O & D
12/7: BKN 100, OKC 95 [Box Score]
Take Two. The Thunder gets another shot at the Nets tonight after an uninspiring performance in Mexico City on December 7. In the previous matchup, the Nets rallied from 16 down for the win behind 21 bench points from Caris LeVert. Westbrook posted a formidable 31 points but it wasn’t enough with Adams and Anthony only contributing a combined 23 points (Paul George did not play). The Thunder has to play with the same discipline it had against the Cavs or this one could get away.
Triple-Double Time: Season 2. Can Westbrook become the only player to average a triple-double TWICE? Yes, he certainly can. Assuming Russ plays all 82 games, he will have to average 10.4 rebounds and 9.9 assists in the remaining 36 games. Westbrook is currently averaging 24.8 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 10.1 assists per game. If you or any of your Westbrook-hater friends think this is a record not worth achieving or “just stat-padding”, please consult this thread from Royce Young:
Nothing but Nets. LeBron James said it best when he referred to the Cavs as “stuck in Strugglesville” — which is an apt description for most of the Eastern Conference… except for maybe the Brooklyn Nets? The Nets boast the longest active win-streak in the East at two games. They’re also looking for their third win in their last four road games. Furthermore, the Nets are coming in hot after a buzzer-beating win against the Pistons on Sunday. Spencer Dinwiddie hit the game-winner for the Nets, while DeMarre Carroll had a career-high 26 points and recorded his fifth 20-point game of the season.
All-Star Reserves Announced Tonight. Tune in to TNT at 6 PM CT for the announcement of the 2o18 All-Star Game reserves. The Western Conference starters feature two Warriors players, two Pelicans players (???), James Harden, and zero members of the Thunder. Westbrook finished fourth in the fan votes and third in the player/media voting. He will very likely be a reserve and could possibly be joined by fellow teammate Paul George. However, the Western Conference is stacked with All-Star level players (i.e. Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson, Karl-Anthony Towns, Damian Lillard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Chris Paul, etc.) and only seven players from each conference will be selected as reserves based on votes from all thirty NBA coaches. Don’t feel bad for Russ though. As a reserve last year, he had 41 points. He also does not care:
In Their Words: In yesterday’s “Fraternizing With The Enemy” piece from David Brandon, he asked Kunal Kohli of Nothing But Nets who the x-factor will be for Brooklyn tonight. His words:
“D’Angelo Russell came back from injury this past Friday. While he is not likely to play major minutes, it will be interesting to see what he does. Against the Heat, Russell tried to be the scorer that he was prior to the injury, but went 0-for-5, including 0-for-3 from long range. He was a more effective passer, dishing out two assists. If head coach Kenny Atkinson decides to play him for more than 15 minutes and Russell is back to his scoring ways, expect a big night for him. But that is a long shot since Atkinson wants Russell to take his time.”