Tip-Off: 6:30 PM CDT
Location: Barclays Center (New York City, NY)
Radio: The Sports Animal
Twitter: Follow @TheThunderGuys for live-tweets during the game
Player to Watch
C Brooke Lopez is the only real threat for the Nets when it comes to individual standout performance capability as Brooklyn has no defined leader. Lopez is averaging 20.4 points while shooting 46.9% from the field, 34.8% from three, and 81.6% from the free throw line to go along with 5.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.8 blocks. In the only other matchup between the Nets and the Thunder so far this season, Lopez scored 22 points, fueled by a 14-point first quarter where he shot 4/5 from beyond the arc. Steven Adams needs to beware of Lopez’s ability to hit shots from deep, but besides that, it should not be too difficult of a matchup for the Thunder big man.
Keys to the Game
- Create Chaos: The Nets turn the ball over a league-high 17.0 times per game, and when the Thunder want to, they can play some solid lockdown defense. Oklahoma City’s offense is at its finest when the defense is able to force opponents into mistakes and then push the ball in transition. The Thunder need to force Brooklyn into turning the ball over and translate that success into points on the offensive end.
- Protect the Perimeter: Brooklyn is not a particularly impressive team from behind the arc, making only 34.4% of their attempts (24th in the NBA), but they shoot a high volume of threes. The Nets average 32.2 shots from deep, which is 4th in the NBA. The Thunder are an average team when it comes to defending the perimeter, allowing opponents to make 36.0% from three (14th in the NBA), but Oklahoma City has a tendency to leave shooters wide open. The Thunder need to be aware of players that are capable of shooting the three lest they create issues for the defense.
- Take Care of Business: The Brooklyn Nets are a terrible defensive team, allowing opponents 114.1 points per game, the worst in the NBA. The Nets also allow opponents to shoot 46.3% from the field (24th in the NBA) and 37.3% from three (26th in the NBA). Oklahoma City has the most exciting scorer in the NBA in Russell Westbrook, but the offense is pretty mediocre. If the Thunder find good looks at the basket, putting up some serious points should be no issue.
Article written by Zack Low. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram.