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Nets and Thunder play in NBA Mexico Games

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NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Oklahoma City Thunder Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

There's something we don't see very often. On Monday night, the Brooklyn Nets went into Atlanta hoping to avenge the loss they suffered on Saturday afternoon. They wound up doing a lot more than that and won the game by 20 points, their largest margin of the season.

Here’s something else you don’t see very often. The Nets have a “home game” in Mexico City, the first of two before they head back to the States.

The opponent this evening will be the Oklahoma City Thunder. They were the most disappointing team in the NBA in November, but appear to have righted the ship. They've won their last three games, including a comeback on Tuesday against the Utah Jazz.

Where to follow the game

YES Network on TV. WFAN 101.9 FM. It's a late night affair as tip off will be after 10:30 Eastern.

Injuries

Nothing new for the Nets. D’Angelo Russell is still out and Kenny Atkinson told media in Mexico that he’s not running yet. That means he’s still weeks away.

Paul George is a late scratch, out with a “calf contusion.”

The game

If there’s anything that’s been encouraging about the Thunder so far, it’s been their defense. Led by Andre Roberson, Steven Adams, and Paul George, they’ve held teams to just 100.1 points per 100 possessions, third best in the NBA. The thing to always remember is that when your offense is in the pits, having a great defense will always save the day and keep you competitive.

Speaking of George, Rondae Hollis Jefferson will see a lot of him. PG is fifth in catch and shoot points per game, so RHJ will have to work his way around a wave of screens throughout the evening. Brooklyn's three point defense has occasionally sprung some leaks, so their ability to switch will be critical in defending George. If they make too many mistakes, PG will drop 40 on them.

DeMarre Carroll will likely get the assignment to guard Carmelo Anthony. It's been a rocky transition for Melo as he's gone from leading option to third man. He's been helping the team in other areas (third on the squad in rebounding) so he gets more time to adjust to his new role, the scoring will come back.

Roberson, by the way, is a close friend of Dinwiddie’s, both former Colorado Buffaloes and Dinwiddie’s girlfriend is Roberson’s sister.

Player to watch: Russell Westbrook

It appears as if Russ is starting to get used to playing with two other All Stars. During the winning streak, he's amassed double digit assists in each game and also led the team in usage rate. The turnovers are still too high (seven per game) for my liking, but that's the trade off you make with Russ. When he's forcing the action and continually applying pressure to opposing defenders, he's the most dangerous player in the Western Conference. When he's not, he's just taking up space.

Spencer Dinwiddie will be coordinating things for Brooklyn. He's done a great job managing possessions, and that skill will be crucial tonight. OKC leads the league in points off of turnovers, and Russ in transition is hell on Earth for backpedaling defenders. On the other side, Dinwiddie will look to bait Westbrook into taking a bunch of three pointers. Although he's attempting fewer threes than year, he's still shooting only 32.8 percent from deep. If you can, let him shoot the Thunder out of the game.

From the Vault

Last Sunday was Shawn Kemp’s birthday, so let’s celebrate the Reign Man by watching him dunk on fools.

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