Wednesday, January 2, 2013
W2W4: Nets at Thunder
By Mike Mazzeo
The Brooklyn Nets were historically bad in their 104-73 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night, scoring a franchise-low five points in the third quarter. Things aren’t going to get any easier on Wednesday night, when the Nets take on the Thunder in Oklahoma City. Here’s what we’ll be watching for:
CRASH BACK: The Nets will have Gerald Wallace in the lineup after he missed Monday night's game due to a bruised left knee. Wallace might get the assignment of guarding Kevin Durant, at least on some possessions.
NEW YEAR, NEW RESULTS? The Nets didn’t expect to enter 2013 with an interim coach and a 16-15 record after a $330 million offseason spending spree, but here they are. It felt very much like they hit rock bottom on Monday night, when they were outscored 30-5 by San Antonio in the third quarter, going 2-for-20 from the field and committing seven turnovers. The Nets must try to put that embarrassing performance in their rearview mirror while taking on a Thunder team that has won 12 straight games on its home court. Brooklyn has lost seven straight to Oklahoma City and has never won there (0-3).
GOOD LUCK: Oklahoma City (24-6) has won three in a row overall and is 16-2 overall at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Led by Durant’s 28 points per game, the Thunder are No. 1 in the NBA in scoring (105.9 ppg). They’re a middle-of-the-pack defense team, but can get away with it because they can flat-out fill it up.
D-WILL VS. R-WEST: Deron Williams used to be known as arguably the best point guard in the NBA. But that’s no longer the case. D-Will, who is having the worst season of his career, is coming off an eight-point, one-assist performance in San Antonio. He said Monday he thinks fatigue has contributed to his struggles. The good news for Williams? He scored a season-high 33 points against OKC on Dec. 4. Russell Westbrook is shooting just 40.4 percent from the field, but is averaging 21.5 points, 8.7 assists and 2.1 steals per game.