Rapid Reaction: Thunder 120, Nets 95
January, 31, 2014
By Mike Mazzeo | ESPNNewYork.com
NEW YORK -- And you thought the Brooklyn Nets had a good month.
Kevin Durant capped off a dominant January with 26 points on 10-for-12 shooting in 31 minutes, leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 120-95 blowout win over the Nets on Friday night at Barclays Center.
Durant’s game-by-game point totals in January: 24, 48, 21, 48, 30, 33, 37, 36, 54, 30, 46, 36, 32, 41, 33 and 26. His string of consecutive games with at least 30 points ended at 12 -- likely only because he didn’t play the fourth quarter with the outcome already decided.
He is the first player to average at least 35 points, six rebounds and six assists in a month since Michael Jordan did it in November 1988.
Durant, who ended up averaging 35.9 points in the month of January, put on his show with President Bill Clinton sitting courtside.
WHAT IT MEANS: Shaun Livingston (16 points -- 10 in the first quarter) was in Durant’s socks all night, defending him seemingly as tough as one can. Didn’t matter. Durant dominated, hitting several shots with Livingston’s hand in his face. Serge Ibaka went a perfect 12-for-12 from the field and chipped in 25 points, clearly benefiting from all the attention Durant was receiving.
The Nets (20-24) wrapped up January with a 10-3 record but were outclassed Friday night. And it won’t get any easier Saturday night, when they take on the Indiana Pacers (35-10).
The Thunder (38-10) have won 10 straight. They shot 63.6 percent from the field and led by as many as 32.
The Nets turned their season around Jan. 2 in Oklahoma City -- Durant had “just” 24 points in that game on 8-for-13 shooting -- but looked very much like they did in 2013: disjointed. They were booed in the third quarter.
Deron Williams (14 points, 1 assist in 31 minutes) was frustrated for much of the night. He had three turnovers in the first half. Will he move back into the starting lineup after coming off the bench for a sixth straight game?
All-Star Joe Johnson (nine points) and Kevin Garnett (no points, 0-for-4) were nonfactors. Marquis Teague made his Brooklyn debut in the fourth quarter.
THE LOOK: All Nets coach Jason Kidd could do was close his eyes and shake his head as he looked at Durant near the Brooklyn sideline during a stoppage of play. Greatness acknowledging greatness is what it was.
INJURY STATUS: The Nets missed long defender Andrei Kirilenko (right calf) and lost Andray Blatche (bruised left hip) in the second half. Williams was seen favoring his left knee/thigh. Have to see about their statuses for Saturday night.
UP NEXT: Nets at Pacers on Saturday night.