|2014-15 NBA Season Game 14|
|November 20th, 2014|
|Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma|
|7:00 PM Central Standard Time|
|TV: Fox Sports Network Oklahoma, Yankees Entertainment Sports Network|
|Injury Report: Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Perry Jones III, Mitch McGary, Grant Jerrett (Out)|
|Previous Matchups: Nov 3 (L 116-85)|
|Deron Williams||PG||Reggie Jackson|
|Joe Johnson||SG||Anthony Morrow (my prediction)|
|Bojan Bogdanovic||SF||Lance Thomas|
|Kevin Garnett||PF||Serge Ibaka|
|Brook Lopez||C||Kendrick Perkins|
It's been a rough few weeks. And it looks like things might be getting rougher. The Thunder are coming home, but awaiting them there are the Brooklyn Nets. Back on November 3rd, the Nets were able to amass a big lead early and cruise to victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Now, the Nets have a fully healthy Brook Lopez running pick and rolls just a couple of days after the Thunder proved that they couldn't defend the pick and roll at all.
Of course, the Nets haven't exactly shined in the days since their blowout. They recently lost face when dropping a triple overtime game to the young Milwaukee Bucks. Aside from Jason Kidd's antics, the Nets had to deal with controversy surrounding Deron Williams. D-Will was accused of passing the buck during the three overtimes, especially after scoring 11 points in the fourth. There's a pretty good defense of Williams' play over at NetsDaily, but suffice to say, Lopez and Johnson will be getting the majority of the crunch time touches. Considering how horrible Reggie Jackson's crunch time D has been lately, that's most certainly a good thing.
The problems for the Nets reside in more than crunch time play, though. This team always seems to be just one piece away from winning. Either a star will have a difficult night, or a couple of scorers on the bench will go cold. It's almost like there's too many important roles on this team, and they could use a more reliable centralizing force. Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez get shut down on too many nights to consistently rely upon them from night to night, and I feel like the Nets would be better served focusing on developing an offensive identity. When you're middle of the pack in almost every statistical category but assists, I think that says a lot.
Still, to beat the Thunder, they won't need much offense. The Thunder's perimeter D has been woeful in recent games, allowing opposing teams to launch up easy threes at will. Bad shooting has kept OKC in fortune's good graces at times, but they still suffer overall. Considering that the Nets have Teletovic, Bogdanovic, Williams, and Johnson on their roster, this is very scary. Furthermore, Adams didn't prove to be much of a problem for Lopez in these two teams' previous encounter. I won't say that Adams can't stop Lopez given how well he performed against Dwight Howard, but still.
Is there any hope of an injury return on the Thunder's end? Andre Roberson played spot minutes against Denver and figures to see a more major role as he recovers from his ankle sprain. He's more of a Joe Johnson stopper than he is a perimeter defender, but his presence would be welcome all the same. At the time of writing, there's still no word on Perry Jones III's return.
At the end of the day, it's really hard for me to imagine this incarnation of the Thunder winning a game. On the offensive end, it would require a good day out of Lamb, Ibaka, and Morrow. All three have struggled to find their shot. A win would also require Reggie Jackson to keep a cool head in the clutch, but he's torpedoed games before. A win would also require great tenacity on the defensive end, but this team's slowness there can be its' own worst enemy. Things could turn around, but with injures, the Thunder are a poorly constructed and tactically flawed team. Unfortunately, that means I must predict the worst.
Prediction: Brooklyn Nets 107, Oklahoma City Thunder 93.
What do you think of tonight's game? Drop a comment and let us know!