Daily Thunder

Game 9 Pregame Primer: Thunder (4-4) @ Nets (5-5)

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Tip-off:

5PM @ Barclays Center, Fox Sports Oklahoma

Projected starting lineups:

Oklahoma CityBrooklyn
PG: George HillPG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Shai Gilgeous-AlexanderSG: Caris LaVert
SF: Lu DortSF: Joe Harris
PF: Darius BazleyPF: Kevin Durant
C: Al HorfordC: DeAndre Jordan

3 Big Things

  • Kevin and Kyrie: Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have both been out the last two games for the Brooklyn Nets, with Durant missing the last three. Durant is expected to play tonight, continuing to test negative for COVID-19 while in contract tracing protocols. Irving is a question mark, sitting out the last two games for personal reasons. When both play the Nets have shown flashes of dominance, destroying the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics in the first two games of the season, but overall, Brooklyn is just 3-3 when both players are in the lineup.
  • Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda: One of the least-kept secrets in Thunder lore is that Al Horford was ready to come to OKC in the summer of 2016 if KD would commit to another year with the Thunder. Durant didn’t do so, fleeing to Oakland, and Horford signed with the Celtics. Now that Horford is with the surprisingly-competitive Thunder, Durant may get an up-close view of Horford in a Thunder jersey and the opportunity to contemplate what could’ve been.
  • Defense: Most of the credit to OKC’s unexpected 4-4 start should be handed to the defense. The Thunder’s defensive rating is 8th in the NBA, contributing to a .500 record despite having the worst offensive rating in the league. Against a dynamic scorer in Durant, Darius Bazley and the Thunder will have to continue to overachieve on the defensive end to come out with a win in Brooklyn.

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Author

John Napier
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