W. Bennett Berry
The Nets survive a late Thunder run, defeating the Thunder 110-93
The game started out as a rout as The Thunder were down 23 at one point before cutting the lead down to 16 at halftime. The Thunder began the second half with another run and cut the lead to single digits with about 8 minutes remaining in the third.
The Thunder eventually tied it at 85 with 7:11 to go. However, OKC scored only 8 points the entire rest of the way while the Nets scored 25 in that time.
Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 27, but was ejected for the first time in his career in the final minutes after having a few choice words for one of the officials. Russell Westbrook scored 26 while Serge Ibaka added 14.
What is your initial reaction to tonight's result?
The Thunder came out flat and careless for much of this game. OKC had handily defeated the Nets earlier in the year. This time Brooklyn was on the road and the Nets were coming off a back-to-back with a new head coach. None of that mattered as the Nets jumped out to that 23 point lead.
While the Thunder should be commended for rallying and tying the game up, they played careless and disorganized on both end of the floor, particularly in the 4th.
What was, overall, the main reason why the Thunder lost?
The Thunder failed to take care of the ball at pivotal moments in the game. It's just a hunch but it seemed as if they came in overconfident and unprepared due to easily handling the Nets the last time these teams played. After the Thunder rallied to tied the game, they instantly gave up all the momentum and allowed the Nets to go on a 9-1 run.
Another thing of note, the Nets were lead by interim coach P.J. Carlesimo, who may have had a chip on his shoulder tonight. He currently is the only head coach to be fired in OKC history, when he was let go on November 22, 2008 following a 1-12 start.
What was a key statistic to understanding the game?
The Thunder committed 20 turnovers on the night. Most of these came from unforced errors, a careless pass, stepping out of bounds, or simply losing their dribble. The Nets took advantage and scored 30 points off the Thunder turnovers.
Another stat of note, the Nets made 25 free throws, compared to only 13 for the Thunder. OKC strives on getting to the line often and tonight they were beat at their own game.
What does this game mean to the Thunder tonight and going forward?
The Thunder had an opportunity to move back into 1st place in the west with a win tonight. Unfortunately they fall back behind the Clippers in the race for home court advantage.
OKC has a tough stretch coming up this month as 11 of the next 14 games are on the road. Let's hope this is the wake up call they need.
Thunder Wonder: Kevin Durant, 27 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 techs, 1 ejection.
Thunder Down Under: Kendrick Perkins, 3 points, 11 Rebounds
Thunder Blunder: Kevin Martin, 11 points, 3-10 FG
Thunder Plunderer: Joe Johnson 33 points, 5 rebounds
Next game: vs. Philadelphia 76ers, on Fri. Jan. 4th @ 7 CDT
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