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No ‘D’ in ‘Nets’: OKC, Westbrook run through Brooklyn, 124-105

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NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Oklahoma City Thunder Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

It’s time to go home. It would also be nice if Jeremy Lin would return soon, too.

It was a tough five-game road-trip for the Nets (4-8), who capped off the trip with a 124-105 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder (8-5) Friday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Nets, who had won four of the last five games AT Oklahoma City, fell to 1-4 on the road-trip and 1-5 away from Barclays Center this season.

Once again for the young and depleted Nets, it was a tale of two halves… and a man named Russell Westbrook. Westbrook finished with his 41st career triple-double of 30 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds.

Here’s how it happened…

The Nets went berserk in the 1st quarter. They scored 40 points and hit eight (!) 3-pointers on 55 percent shooting. Brook Lopez hit four early ones to tie his career-high in a game. The four 3-pointers match a career-high for Lopez, and the 40-point quarter was a season-high through 12 games for Brooklyn.

Lopez was going off. The Nets hit eight 3-pointers and scored 40 points. They should’ve been up big… right?

Wrong.

The Nets went up by 10 in the 2nd quarter, and Russell Westbrook finally got fed up. He scored 10 straight points and cut the Brooklyn lead down to one – a 21-8 extended run that gave Oklahoma City a 3-point halftime lead.

The Nets were sharing the ball and shooting so well, but the defense was horrid yet again. Any “Well, Russell Westbrook is on the other team” counterargument is valid, but for a team that shot so well and emphasizes defensive pressure, it’s inexcusable.

The 3rd quarter Nets were out yet again. They were outscored 32-21 due to a balanced Thunder attack. In the 1st quarter the Nets scored 40 points on 8-of-10 from 3-point. In the 2nd and 3rd quarter, they scored 42 points on 2-of-13 3-point shooting.

Adjustments…

So, once again, the young Nets were put in a position to fight their way back in another game. It didn’t happen this time. OKC went up 14, then 17 with 3:45 left in the game. To revisit the same stat, the Nets finished the final three quarters 3-of-19 from deep. They were out-rebounded 46-30 and turned the ball over 16 times.

Lopez led Brooklyn scorers with 22 points, but was awfully quiet after the first quarter. It’s been a trend this season. Lopez takes over early often, and then sits for an extended period of time in the second quarter. It takes him out of his rhythm and gives teams a chance to adjust at halftime.

Bojan Bogdanovic (15 points per game) scored 13 points following a 29-point effort in Los Angeles. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was the only other starter in double figures with 13 points on 3-of-14 shooting.

Randy Foye, former Thunder, got the start at point guard over Sean Kilpatrick and rookies Isaiah Whitehead and Yogi Ferrell. Foye was pretty ineffective all night with two points and three assists with a minus-15 on the night.

The thought, the hope was that Sean Kilpatrick would regain his swagger by coming off the bench and not playing out of position. In four games as starting point guard, Kilpatrick averaged 11.5 points (3.5 TO's) on 34.5% shooting. In seven games off the bench, he’s 16.6 points on 48.3% shooting. He, too, struggled a bit with 10 points on a poor 3-of-9 shooting.

Instead, Anthony Bennett (12 points) and Justin Hamilton (10 points) stepped up, while Luis Scola didn’t log any minutes for the first time all season. Joe Harris chipped in seven, while rookie Isaiah Whitehead and Yogi Ferrell played well in limited minutes.

No smiles for the Nets as they head home on a 3-game losing streak. They’ll look to snap the streak Sunday afternoon against the Portland Trail-Blazers.