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Thunder vs Nets preview and gamethread: OKC welcomes Brooklyn to the Peake as playoff implications abound

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The Thunder look to build some momentum, but the Nets are sneaky-dangerous as the season winds down.

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Brooklyn Nets Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Game: Oklahoma City Thunder vs Brooklyn Nets

Time: 6PM CST

Location: Chesapeake Arena, OKC

Broadcast: ESPN

Counterpart: Nets Daily

Rolling Thunder Podcast with Nets Daily

***

The Oklahoma City Thunder welcome the Brooklyn Nets to the ‘Peake tonight as OKC looks to stay a step ahead of the Trail Blazers and company in the west.

If your memory is bad, the first go-round between these two teams produced our first big Paul George moment of the season. Trailing the Nets by 20 heading into the 4th, PG scored 25 of his 47 points in the quarter to lead OKC to the come from behind win. Regardless of how the season turns out, nobody can take away this performance from OKC.

But we also look to the future, and the Thunder are still trying to regain their rhythm they had leading into the All-Star break, and Brooklyn won’t make it easy on them. They started the year 3 games under .500 but have pushed their way into the 6th seed in the East. They have recorded wins over the Nuggets and Spurs, and most recently scalded the Pistons by 28. They’re feisty and energized, and OKC needs to be careful.

All eyes will be on George again, but for a different reason. Despite playing at a high level overall, he’s clearly bothered by his lingering shoulder injury, as he has scaled back his offense significantly. The Thunder were able to generate just enough offense against the Jazz, but tonight may be a different story against the faster paced Nets. Russell Westbrook will be challenged to find the right mix of pace and patience to make sure his team looks for good shots, particularly as they have struggled from three for the past few weeks.

In addition, Dennis Schroder will be called upon to balance the offense, even as he seems to run hot or cold. But the Nets are deep and balanced, and the Thunder cannot withstand unevenness in their attack.

This game will be a challenge for a Thunder team that has struggled greatly against teams like the Hawks and Kings, who push the pace, have lots of interchangeable parts, and can shoot the ball. OKC must stay within their own abilities, and even then, the question will be how much they can get out of George if his shot is still off.

Poll

Who do you think will win tonight?

This poll is closed

  • 59%
    Thunder
    (26 votes)
  • 40%
    Nets
    (18 votes)
44 votes total Vote Now