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Thunder vs. Nets Preview: Thunder look to kick a dead horse in Brooklyn (Update)

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The Thunder should give even more evidence that the Brooklyn Knight needs to be shipped off to the glue factory.

Update:

The Thunder-Nets game has been delayed by 4 hours to deal with the snow storm on the east coast.

Where They At: Oklahoma City Thunder

The Thunder picked up their seventh straight in Dallas, a quality performance from the reserves overshadowed by the Mavericks’ furious comeback attempt. Without Steven Adams in the starting lineup, Nick Collison anchored both the starting and backup group to very positive results (16.8 net rating for the starters, 33.8 for the normal 5-man bench unit) to go along with throwback Collison production (6 points, 11 boards in 21 minutes). Good on Mr. Thunder, whose honor I besmirched not so long ago.

The Thunder are eyeing a 10-plus win streak, and there are no playoff teams on the schedule until the long-awaited matchup with the Warriors on February 6. But they’ll still have to perform on the road, as they’ll be the away team for the next three contests.

Where They At: Brooklyn Nets

The Nets should be thankful for the drama in Cleveland, because it has taken the basketball world’s attention off of what a dilapidated franchise they’ve become in Brooklyn. This year’s squad is terrible, losing 10 of 11 and showing no improvement since firing Lionel Hollins as head coach; sporting a frightening -15.3 net rating in the Tony Brown (interim coach) era. Jones has pledged to find out which young guys can play behind cornerstone Brook Lopez, and since their only actual promising young guy (Rondae Hollis-Jefferson) is hurt, it hasn’t been pretty. They’re really bad on both ends of the floor, and of their 11 wins, only 3 have come against teams with an offense in the top half of the league.

Despite reassigning (demoting) former GM Billy King, the Nets brass remains in denial about the mistakes that gutted the organization of good players and future assets. Lopez, who’s having a very good year, links the Thunder to the Nets. The teams had a virtual agreement on a trade last season before GM Sam Presti pulled the trigger on the Enes Kanter deal instead at the last minute. Lopez’s health, age, and controllability were behind Presti’s choice to spurn the Nets, all concerns that haven’t materialized so far since the non-deal. The non-trade would have made this season’s Thunder team more formidable and less tricky for Billy Donavan to manage, and it would have given the Nets at least a shred of hope in developing younger assets now, rather than hoping for a free agency miracle in the next two offseasons.

The Matchup

Things are bleak in New York, with a monster snowstorm and crummy basketball likely to prevent a big crowd from turning out despite the Thunder’s star power. If I were a Nets fan, I don’t think I would be too into braving the cold to watch a blowout. The Thunder should give even more evidence that the Brooklyn Knight needs to be shipped off to the glue factory.

Prediction: Thunder 125 Nets 102

2015-16 NBA Season Game #
@
33-12
(Won 7)

11-33
(Lost 5)
January 24th, 2015
Barclays Center, Brooklyn
6:30 PM Central Standard Time
TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma, YES Network, NBA League Pass
Injury Report: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (Out), Jarret Jack (Out), Steven Adams (Out)
This Season's Matchups: Nov. 25 (W 110-99)
Probable Starters
Russell Westbrook PG Donald Sloan
Andre Roberson SG Wayne Ellington
Kevin Durant SF Joe Johnson
Serge Ibaka PF Thaddeus Young
Nick Collison C Brook Lopez