The Nets fall short against the roaring Thunder, 110-99.
I remain the only multiplesources.net Nets writer to not have covered any wins this season.
This is only by chance – we operate on a roster system – but each time I sit down to watch one of “my” games, I allow myself to fantasize. What if the Nets win this game? What will I write? Unfortunately, today was not the day I got to follow through with my wonderings.
Tonight the Nets played the Oklahoma City Thunder on the road. While the Thunder are a very talented team, the Nets are known for rising to the challenge against tough opponents, so I was expecting a competitive match-up.
As usual, the first quarter began with strong play from the Nets’ starters, particularly Thaddeus Young and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Young is becoming incredibly tricky under the basket, effectively cutting and crashing the offensive glass. Rondae is similarly impressive, working as usual on the defensive end, as well as showing off his athleticism on offense. Notably, Rondae hit all of his foul shots today, something he has been struggling with. To me, this suggests that he is working extra hard on his game out-of-hours, and makes me slightly more optimistic for our future.
Rondae hits a tricky and-one.
Unfortunately, Jack, Lopez, and Johnson didn’t look so good. Jack seemed a little reluctant to take over the game as he usually does, and Johnson shot an atrocious 2 of 11, for just 5 points, and added six turnovers. Lopez had flashes of typical brilliance, but settled too often for tricky shots.
Off the bench, Andrea Bargnani offered an unusual shooting spree (13 points), as Larkin freed him up off pick-and-pops. And Larkin himself was effective – he’s shooting 54.2% from three this year. I can’t believe I’m saying it, but he may be our best player off the bench (Bogdanovic’s shot is nowhere to be found and he is a huge hindrance on defense).
Some notable offensive possessions:
Good pick-and-roll between Jack and Young (more, please)
Ball movement leads to an easy Bargnani jump shot.
Brook Lopez finds Shane Larkin open for a three.
While the Nets played honorable inside defense, they did not guard the perimeter effectively, and the beast that is Russell Westbrook was just too fast to keep up with.
A good defensive possession from the Nets
But Westbrook is a monster
This wasn’t a loss like Saturday’s against the Celtics. The Nets actually tried their best, and I was not hugely disappointed come the final whistle. The Thunder are a good team comprised of some transcendent players. However, I wish the Nets could keep up their offensive strategy of whipping the ball around and not settling for isolations throughout the entire game. They must also learn to be more careful with the ball in the fourth quarter, as the game remained close until the Nets coughed up six turnovers in that period. The game against the Cavs in two days will obviously be tough, but Brooklyn can hang with them if they play smart basketball and increase their hustle on defense – especially on the perimeter.