Game 31 Preview Vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

Before we start talking about tonight’s game, I wanted to talk about something I found pretty interesting in Dave D’s pregame post:

Let us descend into the Ugly Archives this glorious afternoon.

Through 30 games, the Nets’ scoring differential is a minus-11.2.

The last team to post a double digit point differential were the 99 Clippers.  If you stop and think about it, it makes sense, the 2 Nets wins were close one meanwhile, a fair amount of 28 losses were in blowout fashion.  As the wins start to come (and yes I still believe they will come), you will start to see this point differential go down.

Looking towards tonight’s game, Dave D. has the health updates:

Injuries: Josh Boone had an MRI, which was clean, but he’s out. CDR will practice tomorrow, but he’s out. Ditto for Jarvis Hayes. And Rafer Alston will return tonight.

So good news, we won’t miss out on poor basketball because Rafer replaces Josh Boone.  In all seriousness, Josh Boone looked real good coming off the bench (now that Yi has wrestled the starting lineup away from him), and it sucks that he got hurt.  Good to see CDR and Jarvis returning to practice tomorrow.  It is going to be interesting to see how Kiki uses Dooling and Rafer off the bench as well.  Because Boone is out, expect Battie to get some more minutes backing up Yi (he has been backing up Brook exclusively).  Also plan on seeing some Sean Williams…well, maybe…Onto the match-ups!

Devin Harris vs. Russell Westbrook

T’his is going to be a real fun matchup to watch tonight.  Russell Westbrook has turned into a great offensive point guard, but he is pretty average on offense, so hopefully Devin can get himself into the lane.  I think that was the most frustrating thing about the Rockets game on Saturday.  He had the advantage on Aaron Brooks in terms of being able to get into the lane, but I think he just settled for far too many jumpers.

Advantage:  Push

Courtney Lee vs. Thabo Sefolosha

Thabo is the Thunder’s version of Courtney Lee.  A very good defender, who can contribute on the offensive end by hitting shots every now and then.  With Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, and Russell Westbrook that is all you need really.  Thabo is so versatile, he may even draw Devin Harris on the defensive end.  From DailyThunder:

I said Russ will likely guard Harris, but I could see Westbrook sliding over and checking Courtney Lee and Thabo getting the Harris assignment. You’ve got to love the versatility of the unit. I’m sure Scott Brooks loves these options.

Advantage:  Thabo Sefolosha

Trenton Hassell vs. Kevin Durant

If CDR was healthy this could have been real fun to watch.  Two tall and lanky scorers with funny shots going at each other.  CDR’s ankle is still swollen (as someone who just sprained his ankle in Atlantic City, it sucks), so we won’t get to see this.  Trenton might be able to contain Durant (read:  hold him under 25 points) but he is going to have to be physical with him.

Advantage:  Kevin Durant

Yi vs. Jeff Green

Yi has put together a nice two games, but until he does it for like 10 straight games, the question is going to be “can he do it again?”  I think he can, and it is because he is being more aggressive.  His shot wasn’t really falling against Houston, so what did he do?  He attacked the basket and got his points in the paint and from the line.  That willingness to attack the basket was what was missing his first few years in the league.  Jeff Green has quietly been putting together a very nice season.  He is a great second option for the Thunder, and he should take advantage of Yi on the offensive end.

Advantage:  Jeff Green

Brook Lopez vs. Nenad Krstic

Brook Lopez is going up against a big body in Nenad Krstic, but I think he should be able to have himself a nice game tonight.  With Yi and Dooling back, the court will now be opened up for him.  This is becuase Dooling and Yi are knockdown shooters, and defenses are forced to stay with them.  Look for Brook Lopez to put up bigger numbers moving forward.

Advantage:  Brook Lopez

One final note: Fan on the Couch wasn’t posted this morning, but you will see it tomorrow morning.