Time: 8 p.m. EST
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena
Watch: YES Network, FOX Sports GO
Listen: WFAN 101.9, 660 AM
The Nets moved to 2-0 since D’Angelo Russell’s return from injury with a win over the Detroit Pistons Sunday, highlighted by Spencer Dinwiddie’s late game heroics. The game-winner marked Dinwiddie’s third game-winning basket in January alone, as a switch to driving the lane has given him increased success. His confidence has developed greatly as the season has progressed.
Brooklyn’s attention now shifts to an Oklahoma City Thunder team that is starting to put its pieces together. The Thunder are now winners of four straight games, beating their last two opponents by 24 points each.
This will be the second matchup between the Nets and Thunder, the first being a Nets 100-95 win in Mexico City. That game saw one of the best performances by Caris LeVert this season, who finished with 21 points on 6-of-10 shooting, and he has followed that momentum since.
Since that game, though, the Thunder and the “Big 3” have started to click. This will be the first time the Nets face Paul George this season, who sat out of the last matchup.
Rookie swingman Terrance Ferguson has also had an increased role in recent games. He played 14 minutes against Brooklyn but since has seen his minutes climb up to around the 23-minute mark. He is averaging six points in the month of January, but his athleticism has bolstered that rotation.
Three things to watch for
Russell’s return to the lineup has seemed to help the Nets even though his production has not been there. That was to be expected after missing 33 games, but Nets fans are still waiting for Russell to look a bit more comfortable than he has and shake the rust off.
His offensive production might take some more time to come, but expect him to focus on turning the ball over less and setting up his teammates.
DeMarre Carroll has been playing his best basketball of the season since his return from a knee injury. In his last six games, he is averaging a little under 17 points along with 7.3 rebounds per game. His recent stretch of good play has played a major part in the Nets’ past two wins, even tying a career-high 26 points against the Heat in that span.
If the Nets want to come away with a win, they need Carroll to keep up his contributions.
Russell Westbrook, George and Carmelo Anthony have been stealing the headlines this season for the Thunder. While they are all great players, it has let Steven Adams go a little under the radar.
Adams has been a game-changer for the Thunder, as evidenced by his play in Oklahoma City’s last two games. He put up 20+ points and 10+ rebounds in each game, shooting 22-of-25 from the field in that span.
With the Nets’ struggles to guard opposing big men, they might have their hands full with Adams.