Posted on: October 6th, 2014 by Ryan Carbain Comments

 

Projected Record: 58-24 (1st in West)

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Kevin Durant

The Thunder lean on reigning MVP Kevin Durant. (AP)

Head coach: Scott Brooks
2013-14 record: 59-23
2013-14 ORtg: 108.1 (7th)
2013-14 DRtg: 101.0 (5th)
Players in: Mitch McGary, Anthony Morrow, Sebastian Telfair, rights to Semaj Christon, rights to Josh Huestis
Players out: Caron Butler, Derek Fisher, Thabo Sefolosha, rights to Giorgos Printezis
Projected Starting Lineup: Russell Westbrook, Reggie Jackson, Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins

They deal with cheap ownership, an unimaginative offensive system prone to ball watching, and some of the internet’s most derisive rotational players.

Yet, they still keep Gregg Popovich up at night.
... ">MORE →

 

We've been dealing with a few tech issues here for the past week. My apologies for the lack of updates. We'll take the next couple of days catching up on opponents around the league, unless we're destroyed by another serpent. Cross your fingers.

Today's installment of Better Know An Opponent focuses on the Oklahoma City Thunder. Let's take a look.... MORE →

 

Kevin Durant, Mike Conley

Will Thunder strike again? (AP)

Each day that there's a playoff game, we'll have three things to watch in the NBA playoffs. Each note will be accompanied by a contest. We'll announce winners after each round. Here's today's three things to watch:

1) Indiana vs. Manhattan. The Pacers defeated the Knicks 102-95 in Game 1 on the road, thanks to a balanced effort -- six Pacers scored in double figures and they led by 16 heading into the fourth quarter. With a win today, the Pacers would secure a dominating home-court advantage -- needing just two wins with as many as three more games at home. The Pacers produced a convincing 44-30 edge in rebounding, unexpectedly led by Brooklyn-born guard Lance Stephenson.

2) Kevin Durant. Oklahoma City barely eked out a victory in Game 1, winning 93-91 against the Memphis Grizzlies, one of the league's best defenses and a team that starts Marc Gasol, the league's Defensive Player of the Year. Kevin Durant led OKC to victory behind 35 points on 13-26 shooting, adding 15 rebounds and a 19-footer to take the lead for good with 11 seconds left. There's few ways -- if any -- to stop Kevin Durant, but if any team has the capability of doing it, it's the Grizzlies, who employ both Gasol and Tony Allen, arguably the league's best perimeter defender. Memphis has a bevy of talented scorers, and the Thunder barely won even with Durant's routine explosion and may need an unlikely hero to seal Game 2.

3) Carmelo Anthony's shooting. Anthony is no stranger to shooting -- Game 1 marked the 44th time this season that he's recorded more field goal attempts+free throw attempts than points. He averaged 28.7 points on 28.8 FGA+FTA per game in the regular season, which makes this proposition basically a 50-50. The Knicks will be most successful if Anthony's shooting efficiently -- will he?

 

The Brooklyn Nets shocked the Oklahoma City Thunder, Thunder fans, and Nets fans alike last night by defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder, 16-2 at home and 24-6 on the season before last night, 110-93. One of the Nets' biggest strengths last night came from their long-distance marksmanship, as the team finished 9-17 from beyond the arc.

The Nets were able to get a variety of open shots by initiating offense on or going towards the right side of the floor, then quickly -- added emphasis on quickly -- swinging the ball left into space once the defense committed.

Check out the Nets' first-half shot distribution chart below:

That's just three shots from the right side of the floor, and forty from the left and center.

Most notably, the Nets had big success when they were able to get the ball in the left corner, hitting five of six left corner 3's in the first half. Let's take a look.... MORE →

 

Durantula. (AP)

The lowdown: The 16-15 Brooklyn Nets take on the 24-6 Oklahoma City Thunder tonight at 8 P.M. EST, at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City. The Thunder are 15-2 in their last 17 games and haven't lost at home since November 14th. The Nets are 5-11 in their last 16 games, haven't won on the road since December 12th, and most recently were blown out on the road against San Antonio thanks to a five-point third quarter, the lowest in franchise history.

So this might be difficult.

Watch & Listen: The game is televised on YES Network. Ian Eagle & Mike Fratello are on the call. If you don't have TV or your television was stolen by wildebeests, it's radio broadcast on WFAN Radio. You can also listen in Spanish on WADO Radio.

Starters:
Brooklyn Nets: Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Reggie Evans Brook Lopez
Oklahoma City Thunder: Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha, Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins

Advanced Statistics:
Brooklyn Nets: 102.6 offensive rating (12th), 104.1 defensive rating (21st), 90.34 possessions per game (29th)
Oklahoma City Thunder: 110.6 offensive rating (1st), 100.1 defensive rating (8th), 95.18 possessions per game (8th)

 

Gerald Wallace Brooklyn Nets

Wallace is back tonight. But where does he fit?

The 16-15 Brooklyn Nets, fresh off a 104-73 drubbing at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs in which they scored a franchise record-low five points in the third quarter, have the distinct honor of traveling to Oklahoma City tonight to take on the 24-6 Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder are 16-2 at home, outscoring opponents by an average of 11.4 points per game in OKC, and employ Kevin Durant, who I've heard is pretty good at basketball.

In honor of tonight's matchup, here are three things to watch for in tonight's game:... MORE →

 

 

Brook Lopez Brooklyn Nets

The Nets will miss Brook Lopez, but he's not tonight's X-Factor. (AP/Marcio Jose Sanches)

OK, so two of the most important Brooklyn Nets players -- Reggie Evans and Brook Lopez -- are out tonight with the flu and the foot, respectively. The team's playing against the Oklahoma City Thunder, who are 14-4 and the reigning Western Conference Champions.

So that's probably a bad sign. But it's not the be-all-end-all. Here's four reasons why you should watch tonight's game... MORE →

 

Memories... (AP/Kevin P. Casey)

The 11-5 Brooklyn Nets take on the 14-4 Oklahoma City Thunder tonight, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Barclays has been a comfortable home for Brooklyn so far, but they haven't played a team as good as Oklahoma City, the reigning Western Conference Champions led by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The Thunder outscore opponents by almost ten points per game and rank 2nd in offensive efficiency and 7th in defensive efficiency in the NBA. Or, to put it simply: they're really really good. The Nets might not even have to blow a 22-point lead to lose this one at home!

Joining me to talk about tonight's matchup from the other side is Royce Young, lead blogger at ESPN TrueHoop Affiliate Daily Thunder, repping the Oklahoma City Thunder. Daily Thunder is one of the best team blogs on the internet, bar none -- if you want any Thunder news, info, or community, that's the place to be.

Onward!

Royce Young on the Oklahoma City Thunder

 
Devin: Seems like business as usual so far this season for Oklahoma City -- they're 14-4 and cruising. Have there been any major changes this season to the formula, or is it just a continuation of last year's success?

Royce:... MORE →