This year’s Blizzard of the Century turned out to be nothing of the sort, which surprises no one. And the Brooklyn Nets, winners of all of 12 games in the first 65, might have been figured by some for patsies, but they were, you got it, nothing of the sort. The game was tied 32-all after the first quarter, 62-all at the half, and only then did the Thunder defense get the measure of Brooklyn’s offensive machine, shutting down the Nets 122-104 and sweeping the two-game season series. Just the same, four Brooklyn starters cleared double figures, with long, tall Brook Lopez collecting 25 points and short, speedy Jeremy Lin adding 24. The Nets’ bench, despite the reputation they’d built this season, proved to be better tonight at defending than at scoring: they wrangled only 20 points. Still, the Nets shot 47 percent, splashed 12 of 24 treys, and missed only four of 30 free throws; you have to wonder where they’d be if they’d been a bit more consistent, or if they’d been able to put together a winning streak. (Longest win streak for the Nets this season: one game. That’s it.)
The Thunder had five in double figures plus Yet Another Triple-Double from Russell Westbrook (25-12-19). Victor Oladipo broke 20 again, with 21 points on 9-15 shooting. And Alex Abrines, who went 3-5 from deep and 5-7 overall, was christened by radio guy Matt Pinto “Señor Splash,” which the rookie seemed to appreciate. Abrines had 13 points, second only to Enes Kanter (17) among the Thunder reserves.
If I have any Great White North jokes left, they’ll have to wait for Thursday night in Toronto, fourth in the East at 39-28, where it’s snowing now and the predicted high for Thursday is, um, one degree Celsius. Also waiting in Toronto: Thunder expat Serge Ibaka, who will be happy to swat away anything he can.