OKC Thunder (14-4, 5-2 road) vs. Brooklyn Nets (11-5, 7-1 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 112.5 (2nd), Nets– 107.7 (6th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 102.0 (7th), Nets – 103.0 (9th)
Pace: Thunder – 92.3 (14th), Nets – 87.9 (30th)
View from the enemy: The Brooklyn Game
The jury is still mostly out on where exactly the Nets stand in terms of contendership. But one thing’s for sure: They’re pretty good. And beating them on their home floor would certainly be a nice win.
Run down the Thunder’s wins this season and really only three stick out, at least in terms of who they beat: Beating the Clippers, the Bulls in Chicago and the Warriors. And you could make a solid case beating the Nets in Brooklyn would trump all of them.
The Thunder are clearly rolling along, not just winning, but winning with some authority. I don’t think that’ll be the case in Brooklyn tonight, but regardless of if it’s by a point or 20, beating the Nets would be something to feel good about.
Brooklyn coming in: The Nets lost to the Heat on Saturday.
Three Big Things
1. Brookless. The Nets are without their top scorer Brook Lopez, which obviously is a break for the Thunder. It also means that Kendrick Perkins’ role in this game just got a little bit more cloudy. Without Lopez, the Nets have started Andray Blatche, using Kris Humphries at center mostly. Which means Perk has to be sound on the glass and able to cover more athletic players than him. In other words, Perk probably shouldn’t play more than 20 minutes. Also out tonight: Reggie Evans. So we’re spared an egregious flop.
2. D-Will vs. Russ. To big physical guards that tend to take matchups personally. Should be fun.
3. Matching. Both teams seem to have a pretty good answer to the other position by position. The Nets have Joe Johnson, the Thunder have Thabo Sefolosha to guard him. The Thunder have Kevin Durant, the Nets have Gerald Wallace to guard him. Where OKC should have a solid edge is in small lineups, especially with Kevin Martin on the floor. The Nets don’t have much guard depth with MarShon Brooks and Keith Bogans in the backcourt behind Johnson. Jerry Stackhouse has been a surprise this year, but if that’s who the Nets are relying on to match Martin, OKC should feel good about it.
Tip at 6:30 CT. Go Hello Thunder.