The Nets, everyone said, were terrible. Eleven wins in 44 games would certainly sound terrible. But tonight, in a game postponed by four hours, Brooklyn looked almost unbeatable, and the Thunder contributed to that appearance by not beating them. The Nets led by two after the first quarter, eight at the half, eight after three quarters, and never once had to look back: as close as OKC would come would be five, halfway through the fourth. “Just not firing on all cylinders,” said radio guy Matt Pinto, and fortunately, we can’t much extend automotive metaphor in this context, though it would be fair to question the brakes: when they needed stops, the Thunder couldn’t get them. Brook Lopez, in fact, worked his way to a season-high 31 points as the Nets walloped the Thunder, 116-106, to tie the season series at one each.
It wasn’t just Lopez, either. All the starting Nets scored in double figures except Wayne Ellington, and he missed by only one. Bojan Bogdanović paced the bench with 18. Points in the paint were pretty even (OKC 60, Brooklyn 58), but in every other statistical category, the Nets were dominant. It did not help that Steven Adams, who might have been able to hold back Lopez, was out for the second time with his elbow ailment, and in the second quarter, Andre Roberson plowed into Russell Westbrook, leaving Westbrook unharmed but messing up Dre’s knee. Westbrook did come up with 27 points, and Kevin Durant 30, but the support troops were conspicuous by their absence.
Fortunately, there’s no travel time to the next game, against the Knicks at the Garden. New York is playing around .500 ball, and they’d like nothing better than to thrash Oklahoma City. Watch this space, if you can.