Nets Shoot Lights Out Against Thunder, Win Fourth Straight

A+

Final: 01/29/2021

W 147 125

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Screenshot via YES Network

The Nets packed plenty of buckets for their trip to Oklahoma City.

In what tied for the highest-scoring regulation game in franchise history, Brooklyn got contributions across the board in a 147-125 defeat of the Thunder on Friday. Nine (!) Nets registered double-figures in scoring, another tied franchise record, as Kevin Durant had a rest day.

Yes, the Nets did all that without Durant.

Brooklyn could do nearly no wrong offensively. James Harden set the tone with 10 early points, and the game truly broke open as the Nets went on a 15-0 run to start the second quarter. 

The Nets held as large as a 24-point lead over the Thunder as they shot 57% on the night and 19-of-45 from three. The ball moved well as the team notched 33 assists on 57 field goals compared to 11 turnovers.

A big X-factor of the night was the production off the bench. An area that has often been lacking since Harden’s arrival, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Landry Shamet anchored the secondary unit and combined to shoot 7-of-15 from three-point range. The Nets bench out-scored OKC’s, 48-37.

As Ian Eagle mentioned in the YES broadcast, if those players can shoot like that consistently, then the Nets are going to be hard to beat.

Brooklyn’s defense was largely solid throughout the night, despite the Thunder cutting the Nets’ lead to as little as 14 early in the fourth quarter. Still, Brooklyn got stops, held the Thunder to 46.5% shooting and capitalized on OKC’s mistakes, scoring 16 points off 12 turnovers. 

The Nets truly hurt the Thunder in the paint, out-scoring them 70-38 inside and out-rebounding 53-43. Just another prior weakness that continues to improve for Brooklyn.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Theo Maledon led the Thunder with 24 points each. The Nets got revenge after the Thunder surged ahead in the teams’ previous matchup this season

It is known that Brooklyn’s offense can be lethal, and it was just that on Friday as the team scored a minimum of 32 points in each quarter. Harden recorded his third triple-double as a Net and Kyrie Irving hit his stride in the second half while working well with the bench unit.

The convincing win is Brooklyn’s fourth straight to bring their record to 13-8 and move up to second place in the Eastern Conference standings. If they keep this up, it is not out of the question for the Nets to rise to the top of the field in a week’s time (if not sooner). 

Next up: Washington, with Durant in tow.

James Harden

A+

The stats: 25 PTS, 9-14 FG, 3-6 3PT, 4-4 FT, 10 REB, 11 AST, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 32 MIN

It was not his highest-scoring game as a Net, but it may have been his best all-around performance.

Harden pushed the pace and got the Nets off on the right foot with 10 points in his first nine minutes while attacking the paint. From then on, he paid special focus to get his teammates involved while also doing what came natural offensively.

A triple-double for Harden alongside just one turnover. That is just about as efficient as you can ask from him, and he was able to get some rest time without having to close out the victory.

Kyrie Irving

A

The stats: 25 PTS, 10-16 FG, 1-3 3PT, 4-4 FT, 5 REB, 7 AST, 1 STL, 1 BLK, 3 TO, 34 MIN

Kyrie showed off his handle often against OKC. 

Kyrie was effective in the paint and operated well alongside Harden. Kyrie scored eight points in the first four minutes of the third quarter to help keep — and extend — Brooklyn’s lead.

Kyrie perhaps looked his best as he got some run time with the bench unit, facilitating well as his teammates cashed in. Steve Nash is still tweaking his rotations, but the look with Kyrie getting more of the minutes with the second unit may have been the best yet.

Joe Harris

A+

The stats: 20 PTS, 7-13 FG, 5-9 3PT, 1-1 FT, 1 REB, 2 AST, 2 STL, 1 TO, 33 MIN

THIS is how you answer after having your first game without a three-pointer since *checks watch* forever.

Joe was looking for his three-point shot early, and he ended up with five from deep on the night. He made OKC pay not only off the catch-and-shoot, but off-the-dribble as well.

The world is a better place when Joe Harris is making three-pointers. Here’s to the next 79-game streak.

Bruce Brown

A

The stats: 19 PTS, 9-11 FG, 0-1 3PT, 1-1 FT, 5 REB, 1 AST, 1 TO, 24 MIN

Bruce Brown with 19 points in 24 minutes? That’s right.

Brown got the starting nod with KD resting and gave the Nets great efficiency. He played a role in the Nets’ establishing their paint presence early and was active on defense. 

The Nets will take a near-20-point game from Bruce Brown any night.

Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot

A

The stats: 13 PTS, 4-10 FG, 4-8 3PT, 1-2 FT, 5 REB, 3 AST, 1 STL, 20 MIN

It has been a while since TLC has been featured in the grades, and to that, we say welcome back.

TLC has struggled with his shot recently but showed renewed confidence against OKC. One of nine players in double figures, TLC was the leading contributor off the bench while providing good rebounding, ball-movement and defense.

Big performances are to be expected from the Big Three, but the Nets can go up another level if TLC keeps up his three-point shot. Combined with Shamet, Brooklyn can pack a true one-two punch if the secondary unit can keep its foot on the gas offensively. 

TLC and Shamet did that successfully on Friday alongside big games from Jeff Green and Reggie Perry.

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