The Nets have done well in Chesapeake Arena of late: the last time the Nets lost in this building, they went home to New Jersey. The move notwithstanding, they definitely came to compete tonight. With 8:10 left, they’d forged a tie at 85; at this point, Billy Donovan shifted to small-ball, and the Thunder, in the next two minutes, ran off nine points in a row to reestablish something resembling control. Brook Lopez did his best to keep Brooklyn in it, scoring a team-high 26, and rookie guard Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, about whom someone should write a doo-wop melody, rang up a double-double (11 points, 11 rebounds), but the Thunder prevailed, 110-99.
Mostly, it was a question of offensive efficiency: OKC made 41 of 78 shots (53 percent), Brooklyn 43 of 94 (46 percent). Defensively, it was more of a wash: the Nets got more rebounds (45-42, 11-4 off the offensive glass). But what doomed the Nets, I think, was the fact that they couldn’t get any production from Joe Johnson, who was hectored all night by Andre Roberson; Johnson was held to five points, all in the second half, on 2-11 shooting. The Thunder hero list contains the usual names: thirty from Kevin Durant, 27 (and 13 assists) from Russell Westbrook, 16 from Dion Waiters, and 12 (and 8 boards) from Serge Ibaka. Still, there were some troublesome moments: missing seven of eight shots to open the fourth quarter can in no wise be considered a Good Thing, and when radio guy Matt Pinto says “defensive lapse,” he’s not kidding; somebody was just standing there.
So win number 10 comes in game 16. It could be worse. And the opposition for the next three games gets stiffer: the Pistons on Friday, and then on the road to Atlanta and Miami. Let us give thanks that KD has not relapsed, and let us hope that the Pistons have safe flights in and out: we’re about to have some genuinely crappy weather, winter variety.