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Final: Oklahoma City Thunder outlast Brooklyn Nets, 117-111

A furious second half comeback by the Nets falls short against the defending Western Conference Champs.

Al Bello

The Brooklyn Nets scored 38 points in the third quarter and fought the Oklahoma City Thunder tooth-and-nail, but their comeback effort fell short as Kevin Durant and company proved too tough down the stretch. The game featured the return of Deron Williams the scorer. He became the first Net to score more than 30 this season.

The Nets allowed the Thunder to shoot 66% in the first half and trailed by 13 at halftime. However, the third quarter brought a hailstorm of three-pointers - including four by a blazing hot Gerald Wallace - and the OKC lead was cut to four entering the final stanza.

"I just thought we were kind of playing on our heels.", said coach Avery Johnson of his team's first half performance. "I know our team. That wasn't the team that I saw in Boston or in Orlando. That's not the team I saw against the Clippers. And obviously, sure, we're missing some guys, but I didn't see that look in our eyes. I saw it in the third quarter. I saw our team in the second half."

"But obviously," added Johnson. "Against Oklahoma, you've got to play more than a half".

The key play in the 4th came with 1:52 remaining and the Thunder up by two. Durant drove down the right side of the lane for a layup when Kris Humphries appeared to swat it off the backboard with Joe Johnson snagging the rebound. The refs, however, called a goaltend. After a review, they upheld the call (which was very close, and unclear even in frame-by-frame) giving the Thunder a four point lead they would never relinquish.

Post-game, Humphries would have no talk of moral victories. "A loss is a loss to us," Humphries said. "We’re not the Nets of the past few years. No moral victories, we’re trying to win games... We can’t go on losing streaks, that’s not what this year is about."

Deron Williams had a stellar game for the Nets. He became the first Brooklyn Net to score 30 points with his game-high 33. Williams added 7 assists, 4 rebounds, 5 three-pointers and shot 50% from the field.

Andray Blatche also had another strong game. Starting for the absent Brook Lopez (foot), Blatche had 19 points and 11 boards and provided some highlight reel moments. Humphries also had a double-double (12 points, 12 rebounds), seeing more minutes filling in for the flu-stricken Reggie Evans.

Kevin Durant lead the way for the Thunder with 32 points. Russell Westbrook had 25 points and 9 assists and Thabo Sefolosha helped establish the Thunder lead in the first quarter by nailing his open jumpers and scoring 10 of his 14 points.

The win takes the Thunder to 15-4, one game behind Memphis for the Western Conference lead. The Nets went to 11-6 and lost only their second game at the Barclays Center. They are now a game-and-a-half behind the Heat and Knicks for the Eastern Conference lead.

Quick Notes:

- The Thunder debuted their navy blue alternate jerseys. The game was nationally televised due to the weekly "Fan Night" vote to decide which game NBA-TV will air.

- Joe Johnson had another tough shooting night, going 8-21 and 1-7 from beyond the arc. At 40% shooting for the season, he is well below his career average of 44%. Johnson did make some key shots late, however.

- 38-year-old Jerry Stackhouse played almost 30 minutes. All his shots were threes and he went 2-6. 23-year-old MarShon Brooks played just over 3 minutes, going 0-1 for 0 points.

- The Thunder shot 60% and made 30 of their 34 free throws. The Nets made it close by draining 14 threes to the Thunder's 7 and out-rebounding OKC 40-33.

- The Nets had 16 offensive rebounds. The Thunder had 2, but they only missed 26 shots. One of the two was a dagger putback by Sefolosha with under a minute to go that put the Thunder up six.

- The Nets spoiled Jay-Z's 43rd birthday. Something tells me he'll be OK, though.

Final - 12.4.2012 1 2 3 4 Total
Oklahoma City Thunder 31 30 29 27 117
Brooklyn Nets 28 20 38 25 111

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