Thunder vs. Nets: Pregame Primer
Thunder (33-12, 12-7 road) vs. Nets (11-33, 7-17 home)
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM, 1300 AM The Buzz Tulsa)
Time: 6:30 PM CST (was originally scheduled for 2:30 PM CST)
Team Comparisons (per NBA.com/Stats)
- Offensive Rating: Thunder – 109.3 (2nd), Nets – 97.8 (28th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 100.3 (8th), Nets – 106.0 (26th)
A strained elbow? Really? Of all the things to keep Steven Adams out for multiple games….a strained elbow? I mean, this is a man that takes an elbow to the face and apologizes to the elbower. A man that breaks his right hand and stays in the game just so he can live out his lifelong dream of shooting free throws left-handed (of which he hit 1 of 2). A man that gets punched in the face and doesn’t react at all, to the point where the opposing player gets suspended the next day and fans have no idea what play was the suspendable one. Of all the injuries to sideline THAT guy….a strained elbow?
My hope is that it isn’t more serious. Jimmy Butler missed 11 games last season because of an elbow sprain. Blake Griffin missed 15 games last season because he had surgery to clear out a staph infection from his elbow. David West, while he was a member of the Oklahoma City/New Orleans Hornets missed 30 games to an elbow injury that needed arthroscopic surgery. There is precedent for elbow injuries keeping players out for significant time. The Oklahoma City Thunder have yet to come out with anything about the injury, which is a bit worrying. For as mum as the organization is, they are usually pretty good about giving out some sort of time frame when it comes to injuries.
But enough about my doom and gloom. Seven games in a row!!!!!Series History
This is the second and final meeting of the season between the Thunder and Nets. The Thunder won the first meeting in Oklahoma City 110-99. The game was a little closer than it should have been, but Kevin Durant and Dion Waiters made sure to keep the Nets at bay with five 3-pointers made in the 4th quarter.The Opponent
The Nets come into this game with an 11-33 record, having lost their last 5 games and 10 of their last 11. They were a bad team before Jarrett Jack suffered an ACL tear on January 2nd. Since then, they have been abysmal. There only saving grace is the occasional “take-over” game from Brook Lopez and the consistent overall play of Thaddeus Young, who is averaging 15.3 points and 8.9 rebounds. Joe Johnson, who is in the final year of his monstrous contract, is a shell of his former self.
Shane Larkin and Bojan Bogdanovic have shown occasional flashes of being rotational players. Net’s first rounder Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was asserting himself as an up-and-coming defensive wing, but suffered a broken ankle in the beginning of December and is likely out until after the All-Star break.3 Big Things
In reality, the Nets’ only hope on offense is Lopez and Young. With Steven Adams being out, that leaves Nick Collison and Enes Kanter as the primary defenders for Lopez. While Lopez isn’t a pick-n-roll threat, he is a pick-n-pop threat. In addition, Young can pose a threat with his versatility and can draw Serge Ibaka from the basketball.
Shane Larkin…that is all. Feast young man, feast!
3. Stay Warm
Of all the teams that had to travel to the Northeastern seaboard for a game, the Thunder probably got the luckiest as they play both the Nets and Knicks over the next three days, and don’t have to leave New York until Tuesday evening. And selfishly, as a Thunder fan, knowing that the Thunder players have to stay indoors on a Saturday night in New York gives me hope that they will be rested for their game on Sunday.Thunder Killer – Opposing player most likely to have a breakout game against the Thunder:
Brook Lopez – Lopez always seems to have good games against the Thunder. And now that he is the primary and secondary option for Brooklyn on offense, I look for him to get plenty of opportunities to score against Oklahoma City.