I noticed only a couple of times when radio guy Matt Pinto uttered the dreaded words “New Jersey,” until the fourth quarter, when he did it about five times in a row. And it’s just as well, because the Nets in Brooklyn have been way better than the Nets in Joisey the last few years. What they have is resilience: down thirteen at the half and sixteen early in the third, Dem Nets turned on the long-ball machine and sank six treys to pull within four at the beginning of the fourth, despite being without both Reggie Evans and Brook Lopez. Several times the Nets closed to within two, but that’s as close at they’d get, Oklahoma City escaping with a 117-111 win.
Object lesson tonight in reading the whole box score: the Thunder had only two offensive rebounds, and only one of them produced second-chance points but they hit 40 of 66 for 61 percent. The Nets went 39-91 for 43 percent; 34 of those 91 shots were from beyond the arc, fourteen of which went.
The absence of Lopez and Evans surely hurt, but Brooklyn demonstrated some serious depth, with Andray Blatche doing a persuasive job in the middle (19 points, 11 rebounds) and the other four starters doing double-figure work, led by Deron Williams with 33. Jerry Stackhouse contributed a couple of timely treys from the bench.
Kevin Martin had only seven points, but he finished +11 for the night, one behind The Other Kevin. (Durant dropped in 32.) Russell Westbrook, despite playing most of the fourth with five fouls, was good for 25, including four free throws in the waning moments to ice it away. But the Thunder were handily outrebounded by the Nets, 40-33, and Brooklyn landed 18 second-chance points. (As noted earlier, OKC had two.)
Back home Friday night, against the Lakers, who are playing incredibly average ball so far this season. Still, it’s the Lakers, so things will get louder than usual in Loud City.