Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Thunder 117, Nets 111
By Mike Mazzeo
WHAT IT MEANS: The Oklahoma City Thunder blew up the Brooklyn Nets’ defensive rating.
The Nets, who came in ranked second in the NBA in scoring defense, got torched for a season-high 117 points on a season-high 60.6 percent shooting by the Thunder in a 117-111 loss on Tuesday night at Barclays Center.
Brooklyn (11-6), which saw its six-game home winning streak come to an end, has now lost two games in a row, and still hasn’t beaten Oklahoma City since Jan. 12, 2009 -- a string of seven consecutive defeats.
Kevin Durant (32) and Russell Westbrook (25) combined for 57 points to lead the Thunder (15-4).
The Nets nearly rallied back from a 16-point deficit, but couldn’t get enough stops down the stretch to complete their comeback attempt.
A controversial goaltending call on Kris Humphries (12 points, 12 rebounds) with 1:52 left proved critical, as it gave Oklahoma City a 110-106 lead.
REASON FOR OPTIMISM: Deron Williams’ jumper was actually going in. D-Will made his first four shots -- one of which was a desperation 32-footer from the right wing. It was a sign of better things to come. The point guard finished 10-for-20 from the field (5-for-9 from 3-point range) and became the first Net to cross the 30-point mark this season, finishing with a game-high 33. It was D-Will’s first 30-point game since March 28, 2012 vs. Indiana. Not too shabby for a guy that was banged up and shooting a career-worst 38.2 percent coming in.
ZERO HERO: Another start in place of the injured Brook Lopez. Another big game for Andray Blatche. The 26-year-old center had 19 points and 11 rebounds on Tuesday night. During Lopez’s three-game absence due to a sprained right foot, Blatche has posted averages of 17.7 points and 9.3 rebounds. He could’ve gone for more had he not picked up his fifth foul at the 8:42 mark of the fourth quarter, which sent him to the bench for a long stretch. Reggie Evans also missed this game due to the flu.
MIXED REVIEWS: Joe Johnson was a non-factor in Miami (5-for-14, 12 points) -- and a non-factor in this one, too -- until the fourth quarter. The $19.75 million man had eight of his 17 points in the final period, but shot just 8-for-21 from the field.
EXPLODING FROM DOWNTOWN: The Nets went 6-for-9 from 3-point range during a third quarter in which they outscored the Thunder, 38-29, and turned a 16-point deficit into a four-point deficit heading into the fourth. Gerald Wallace (14 points, seven rebounds) hit four of those 3s. It was their highest scoring quarter this season. The Nets ended up going 14-for-34 from 3-point range on the night.
HOT START: Oklahoma City made 21 of its first 30 field goal attempts and shot a sizzling 65.7 percent in the first half.
HAPPY B-DAY, JAY: Nets minority owner Jay-Z turned 43 on Tuesday night.
WHO’S IN THE HOUSE? Trey Songz
UP NEXT: Nets vs. Warriors on Friday night