Brooklyn Nets move on to OKC ... Out of the frying pan, into the fire

Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

The Nets enjoyed New Year's Eve along San Antonio's famous River Walk and then headed to Oklahoma City Tuesday. After their season's worst performance Monday night, they have to hope they hit rock bottom and can recover. If not, a season that's already getting long could get a lot longer fast.

The Thunder is, if anything, a worse matchup than the Spurs. OKC is an athletic, explosive team compared to the veteran, methodical Spurs. Start with this: the Thunder have a 12-game winning streak (16-4 overall), the Nets have a four-game losing streak. It gets worse. The Thunder are the NBA's best offensive team with a top three player leading them and a top 10 player backing him up. That would be Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. They seem to have no weaknesses. How efficient are they on offense. They are first in points per game, 29th in field goals attempted. They're No. 1 in three point percentage, at 40 percent, and in free throw percentage, at 85 percent. They take more free throws than any other team, and make more. They are in the top five in scoring in every quarter and overtime. They're No. 1 in blocks. They're not a great rebounding team, but good enough.

It will be another homecoming for P.J. Carlesimo. His last head coaching gig before Brooklyn was in OKC where he was fired after going 1-12 to start the season in 2008. The team finished 23-59 under current coach Scottie Brooks, their last time in the lottery.

Durant praised Carlesimo in an interview Monday.

He just demanded so much out of me since the beginning. He didn't treat me like a rookie my first year. When I messed up, he got on me. When I did well, he told me I did well. So he was just a great motivator for me and got me better because I wanted to live up to his standards. He's the reason why I've progressed as a player. He's a great coach, man. He's a great motivator. He's a player's coach, so I'm sure those guys (the Nets) are playing hard for him.

C.J. Watson (sore right knee) didn't practice. Gerald Wallace (bruised left knee) did but on a limited basis. Deron Williams (deeply bruised ego) practiced. In their first meeting, in Brooklyn, the Thunder won, 117-111, with Williams scoring 33 points and handing out seven assists, easily his best game of the season. Andray Blatche, filling for the injured Brook Lopez, had 19 points and 11 rebounds.

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