Nets (10-21, 4-12 road) vs. Thunder (25-6, 14-2 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 108.8 (7th), Nets – 103.9 (20th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 100.5 (2nd), Nets – 109.9 (30th)
Pace: Thunder – 96.5 (5th), Nets – 92.2 (25th)
The Thunder really need to bounce back and clear the disappointment of New Year’s Eve from their minds. And great news! They’re playing the Nets tonight. Defensively, the Thunder have been solid without Russell Westbrook, but where they’ve been inconsistent is on the offensive end. And the Nets come in ranked last in basically every defensive category.
Where the Nets can be dangerous is with some hot shooting like Joe Johnson hitting seven 3s or Deron Williams remembering how good he once was, but for the most part, this is a broken team that is old, slow and mostly disgruntled.
This had the looks of being a marquee matchup before the season started, but with stars out and the Nets disappointing, now it’s a game the Thunder simply need to handle, wipe their hands of and move on to the next one.
Brooklyn coming in: Got rolled by the Spurs on Tuesday
Three Big Things
1. Play fast. The Thunder need to get into the open court more, create easy opportunities and crank up the tempo of the game on the Nets. They’ve been playing slower without Westbrook and where the Thunder can be most dynamic is in transition. Durant, Jackson and others need some easy looks to get going.
2. 3-point line. The Nets are probably going to try and level this game by taking and making a bunch of 3s. The Nets are 21st in 3s attempted a game, making 7.4. But in a game like this, they need extra points and they probably won’t be shy.
3. Help. KD wants to play his game. He doesn’t want to do too much. But in order for him to do that, he’s got to get necessary help. Serge Ibaka needs to score, Reggie Jackson needs to create both for himself and others, an the bench needs to produce.
Tip at 7:00 CT. Go Sugar Thunder.