The Morning After: Thunder Dominate Nets

Kevin Durant, Shaun Livingston, Andray Blatche
The Thunder routed the Nets behind Kevin Durant’s 26 points. (AP)

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Here’s a roundup of last night’s Nets festivities.

What happened: By the end of the first half, the Nets trailed 63-35. That just about tells you how it goes. The Nets got walloped, destroyed, sunk, shot to death by the Oklahoma City Thunder, losing by the final score of 120-95.

That was… As embarrassing as a loss can get. The Nets set an NBA record for rebounding futility, were outscored by 14 in each of the first two quarters, and never got within 22 points in the entire second half. The only good thing is that a loss can only count as one game in the standings.

Where they stand: At 20-24, the Nets hold the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference, one game ahead of the eighth-seeded Charlotte Bobcats and four games behind the Toronto Raptors for the division lead.

Durant Domination: The Nets had no answer for Kevin Durant, and he didn’t even need to do much: if they covered him with one man, he’d score over that man, if they brought a double-team, he’d hit the open player for a score. Durant dropped 22 points in the first half and added six assists without breaking a sweat. He’s the league MVP this year, without question.

The Nets were so bad that… They accidentally ended Durant’s scoring streak. Heading into Friday night, Durant had scored 30 points or more in 12 consecutive games, four shy of the modern-era NBA record set by Kobe Bryant in 2003. But with the Nets leading by 30 after three quarters, Thunder coach Scott Brooks sat Durant for the rest of the game, leaving him with just 26 on the night. He added seven easy assists.

Durant was cool about the end of the streak. “Man, I’m glad that’s over with. I’d much rather take the win, that’s my type of game.”

Serging offense: Serge Ibaka shot 12-12 from the field, six shy of Wilt Chamberlain’s record for most field goals in a game without a miss. They weren’t all easy: Ibaka hit some ridiculous fading, turnaround jumpers, taking even worse shots as he kept his streak alive.

In total, Durant and Ibaka combined for 51 points… on 22-24 shooting… without playing in the fourth quarter. It was that bad.

Recruiting party: The Nets will have boatloads of cap space in 2016, with easily enough cleared at this point to offer Kevin Durant a max contract. But if they wanted to entice him tonight, the best they can offer is that nobody who played against him tonight has a guaranteed contract in 2016. (Williams has an early termination option.)

Record-Setting: The Nets Will Have To Rebound Tonight, Because They Sure Didn’t Last Night
The Nets set an NBA record for rebounding futility, recording just 17 rebounds in the entire game. The previous record was held by the Detroit Pistons, who picked up just 18 boards against the Charlotte Hornets in 2001. The Nets broke a bad record that was set when the Hornets were still a thing.

Game Grades: Read ’em here.

Passing the torch:

This GIF, captured by the always-excellent Royce Young of Daily Thunder, perfectly encapsulates the game: Durant doing things that nobody can explain, and Kidd just shrugging and giving him the impressed look. It reminded me of when Amar’e Stoudemire gave Blake Griffin the same look when Griffin was a rookie after one of Griffin’s nasty slams. I see you, young fella.

Hello, Mr. President:

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton was on hand for the beatdown, and gave a particularly enthralling interview on ESPN. Is it just me, or is he a surprisingly good sports analyst?

Maybe he can replace Tyshawn Taylor as team drink-spiller.
Maybe he can replace Tyshawn Taylor as team drink-spiller.

Welcome back: Reggie Evans played for the first time since January 11th, with two minutes and thirty seconds of hilarity. He entered to loud “REG-GIE!” chants throughout the arena, which he promptly honored with two botched shots at the rim.


For the record: Evans had more than 17 rebounds in a game eleven times last year.

My Thoughts At The Half: *vomits uncontrollably*

Jason Kidd Suit Update: No tie, as usual. But he had nothing on Russell Westbrook’s suit.

Believe in the incredible.
Believe in the incredible.

Shaun Livingston, Doin’ Things:

At least he was alive. Livingston was the team’s only chance at containing Kevin Durant, and he actually had a decent game, finishing with a team-high 16 points on 6-8 shooting. Livingston’s length helps him shoot over nearly anybody that matches up against him, and he used that to his advantage in the post, as well as on these two sweet dunks. A bright spot in a sad, dark, lonely cloud.

Teague Pass Alert: Marquis Teague made his Brooklyn Nets debut, entering the game in the fourth quarter with the Nets down 30. He looked overmatched at times, but also made a righty layup and a three-pointer, so that’s something.

Shot Chart Rorschach Test: Serge Ibaka: one of Godzilla’s scales.
Godzilla

Across the river: The New York Knicks did not play Friday night, but the Charlotte Bobcats defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 110-100, putting the Knicks one game back from the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.

Next up: The Nets have no time to rest: they took a team plane to Indiana shortly after the game to take on the Indiana Pacers in Indiana, tonight at 6 P.M. At 35-10, the Pacers are the top seed in the Eastern Conference and have the second-best record in the NBA, behind… the Oklahoma City Thunder. Not the easiest weekend for Brooklyn, huh?

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