Pregame Open Thread: New Jersey Nets vs Oklahoma City Thunder

UPDATE: Kevin Durant is out tonight due to a sprained left knee. What’s with player’s knees?

This should be a fun one. The Nets finish up another back-to-back tonight taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder (12-6) in Newark. The young Thunder, who are barely two seasons removed from having one of the worst records in the league are starting to establish themselves as one of the Western Conference’s best teams after a so-so start to the season. Here are some keys to the game:

  • Don’t Let …. Russell Westbrook … beat you: Kevin Durant was the fashionable pick as a potential MVP by the pundits before the season began, but OKC’s best player so far may actually be PG Russell Westbrook. In his last five games he’s averaging 23.4 points, 9.6 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.8 steals. With Devin Harris out with a knee injury, this complicates matters further.
  • Keep the Thunder Off the Line: The Thunder are currently shooting about 85 percent from the free throw line this season – as a team. Yes, the whole team is shooting 85 percent. That’s insane. The Nets need to avoid the cheapie fouls, because they will lose this game if it comes down to scoring from the charity stripe.
  • Running the Point: We saw Jordan Farmar do a terrific job of filling in for Devin Harris after he was ejected against the Clippers a few weeks ago. But last night against the Knicks, the offense stalled once Harris went down. Farmar has to get the Nets into their offense and keep them there all night.