Game 33 Preview: Nets at Thunder
December 29, 2010
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Tipoff: 8:00PM EST
Previous Game Results
Devin Harris – 17.1 ppg, 6.8 apg
Brook Lopez – 19.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg
Westbrook – DTD
When we last left the NJ Nets, it was the middle of the night, we had enjoyed a roller coaster ride of a triple OT game, and we were wondering how good could the Thunder be once Durant got off the disabled list. Well, they got Durant back, and since then they’ve gone 8-5. It’s difficult to argue that the Thunder have had any real “signature” wins in that time period; the good teams that they faced (Chicago/NY/Dallas) beat the Thunder pretty handily. So tonight is merely a rebound game, and what better way to rebound than against a team that is 3-13 on the road.
The Thunder struggled against the Nets in game 1 mostly because they continued to have trouble guarding a big man in the post. Brook Lopez will never be confused with Hakeem Olajuwon, but he does have decent (if deliberate) post moves and has enough bulk and strength that it gave Ibaka and Green fits. I would like to see a stronger effort in pushing Lopez away from the rim and out of his comfort zone and away from the boards.
The big change for tonight for the Nets will be the return of Devin Harris, a quick point guard who can shoot and finish. He was an up and comer for several years in Dallas before becoming part of the Jason Kidd trade that took Kidd from NJ to Dallas. He’s still a decent guard, but his growth has been stunted these past two years. He should be an easier matchup than Kidd for Westbrook, who tends to like to go against other guards that are similar to him in stature. Westbrook had a devil of a time getting off against the bigger and stronger Kidd, and Westbrook could definitely use an easier stretch.
As we saw before, the Nets do have a few wild cards on their team like Anthony Morrow and Jordan Farmar, two guys that helped propel the Nets in game 1. I think that the big difference between game 1 and now is that the Thunder’s bench is vastly superior, the 2nd team has grown very accustomed to playing together (Maynor/Harden/either Green or Durant) and the team frequently surges when the 2nd teams go head-to-head. I do not expect that this game will be as close, precisely for this reason.
The Thunder really need a solid two wins this week, in preparation for their tour of Texas. Let us watch as the Thunder dig in tonight.