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Tuesday, December 4, 2012
W2W4: Nets vs. Thunder

By Mike Mazzeo

The Brooklyn Nets lost to the defending champion Miami Heat on Saturday night. They'll have a chance to bounce back against the Western Conference champion Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night. Here’s what we’ll be watching for:

BOUNCING BACK: The Nets led by as many as 14, but lost to the Heat, 102-89, because they went 3-for-15 from 3-point range in the second half and had 11 turnovers in the final 24 minutes. Miami ended up shooting 51.3 percent and scored 102 points, snapping Brooklyn's streak of holding teams under 90 points -- and winning streak -- at five. Just like the Heat, the Thunder (105.1 ppg) have a Big Three of their own, featuring Kevin Durant (26.7 ppg), Russell Westbrook (20.7 ppg) and Kevin Martin (16.1 ppg). The Nets are once again going to have their hands full defensively in this one. Playing the game at their tempo -- slow and half-court based -- is going to be imperative if they want to pull off an "upset" of sorts.

PROTECTING THEIR HOUSE: The Nets (11-5) are 7-1 at Barclays Center. But they have not beaten the Thunder (14-4) since Jan. 12, 2009 -- a string of six consecutive losses.

SUPER JOE ... OR NO SHOW? Joe Johnson will look to rebound following his 5-for-14, 12-point performance in Miami. The Nets are going to need Johnson to have a big game, but he’s just been so inconsistent early in the season, and it’s become virtually impossible to predict how he’s going to perform.

SHOTS! SHOTS! SHOTS! Avery Johnson, the NBA’s Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for October and November, still wants Deron Williams to take them, despite the fact that the All-Star point guard is making just 32.6 percent of his jump shots this season. Will D-Will be able to make them consistently? Or will his confidence continue to sink? Past performances indicate his shooting funk won’t be going away anytime soon, but Tuesday is a new day.

ZERO HERO: So far, Andray Blatche is averaging 17 points and 8.5 rebounds in two starts in place of the injured Brook Lopez, who is expected to miss his third straight game on Tuesday night due to a right foot sprain.

OF NOTE: Saturday night’s Nets-Heat game was the most-watched and highest-rated regular season Nets telecast ever on YES, according to the Network.