Tonight at 8 p.m., the Nets take on the Oklahoma City Thunder, owners of the best record in the NBA.
The Nets are coming off a blowout loss to the Spurs, and a win tonight in OKC, where the Thunder are 16-2, is a tall order.
It will take an overall team effort to even have a respectable showing tonight. The Nets have never won (0-3) in Oklahoma City.
Durant and Westbrook Are Deadly Combination
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook come into tonight’s contest third and sixth, respectively, in the league in scoring with 28.5 and 21.5 points per game.
The duo combined for 57 points in the Thunder’s 117-111 victory Dec. 4, 2012 at Barclays Center over the Nets.
But actually it was Serge Ibaka that was the difference maker. He finished with 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting in the Thunder win.
The Thunder are averaging a league-best 105.93 points per game, and Durant and Westbrook have certainly contributed to that total.
Thunder Are Tough at Home
In addition to their 16-2 mark on their home floor, OKC has won 12 straight contests at Chesapeake Energy Arena. That’s the longest current home winning streak in the NBA and the second longest for the Thunder in the Oklahoma City era.
During that 12-game span, the Thunder have averaged 110.9 points per game and have outscored their opponents by an average of 13.6 points per game.
It certainly doesn’t help that Brooklyn has been struggling on the road as of late. In their last three road losses, the Nets have lost by an average of 20.0 points.
Deron Williams Hard on Himself
Deron Williams was upset with his performance against the Spurs (eight points, one assist) and was hard on himself about how he’s played all season.
He’s averaging career-worsts in field-goal percentage (39.9) and three-point percentage (30.0) as well as 7.5 assists per game, his lowest since becoming a full-time starter.
A good effort tonight against a tough Thunder team is exactly what he needs to get going.
Strong Effort from MarShon Brooks
MarShon Brooks is coming off his best performance of the season in which he shot 7-of-12 from the floor for 16 points in just 19 minutes against the Spurs.
Granted, much of this was in garbage time, but the Nets will need Brooks to provide an offensive spark with the second unit on the floor, especially when Durant and Westbrook are on the bench for the Thunder.
The action tips off at 8 p.m. and can be seen on the YES Network.