First a blizzard hit, and then the Thunder struck.
With potential MVP Russell Westbrook in town, the Brooklyn Nets (12-54) failed to pull out their first win streak of the season with a 122-104 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder (38-29) on Tuesday. Westbrook recorded his 33rd triple double of the season as the Thunder outscored the Nets 60-42 in the second half.
Oklahoma City is 26-7 when Westbrook finishes with a triple double.
It was an evenly matched first half that saw Brooklyn and OKC all tied up at 62 apiece. The Nets grew cold in the second half and nailed just five field goals in the first 16 minutes of the second half, putting OKC up by double digits for most of the fourth quarter.
A close shootout in the first half turned into a blowout in the second half. The dagger was delivered with 2:29 in the fourth quarter as OKC went up by 17. And thus, the Nets failed to win two straight games ... again.
The “L train” of Brooklyn (Lopez, Lin and LeVert) gave them a chance, but they had very little help. The trio combined for 65 points on 21-of-36 shooting. The issue was obvious as mentioned. Once they checked out, there was nobody to pick up where they left off in the second half.
After a string of 50-point performances, the reserves scored just 20 points and squandered a close game once the trio checked out. It went from a one-point deficit to a 10-point deficit once Lopez and Lin checked back in. Brooklyn’s bench is 2nd in the NBA for points per game. It didn’t look that way.
LeVert – who played one of his best games of his rookie year – checked out around the six-minute mark of the third quarter and sat for an extended 12+ minutes. Down 12 with just 5:38 remaining, there wasn’t much time for the rookie to make a big difference. He finished with 16 points.
Lin scored a season-high 24 points and five assists in 26 minutes. Lopez finished with a team-high 25 points. Aside from those three, Randy Foye was the only player in double digits with 13 points.
Oklahoma City tried to take advantage of Brooklyn’s small lineup. Early on, Billy Donovan exposed the matchup of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson on Taj Gibson. Gibson scored all 11 of his points in the first seven minutes of the game. After the first, the Nets swarmed the paint with double teams and tried to shut him out as much as possible.
His last bucket of the evening came at the 5:07 mark of the first quarter. However, Enes Kanter took his place and dominated the smaller lineups of Brooklyn with 17 points in 19 minutes.
And then there was this guy named Russell Westbrook. He nearly finished the first half with a triple double of 13 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds. Averaging a near double double this season, Westbrook finished with 25 points, 19 assists, 11 rebounds and two steals.
After hitting a season-high 19 3-pointers on Sunday, the Nets hit 12-of-24 on Tuesday. Most of the offense has generated from behind the arc, setup by penetration and solid ball movement. It still wasn’t enough.
“Their physicality wore us down,’’ said Kenny Atkinson. The Nets were outrebounded 44-30 and shot just 32.3 percent in the second half.
“They’re definitely physical. They were just wearing on us on the boards, and in general,’’ said Lin. “As a competitor you love these matchups. You just want to see where you stack up. He had a great game. He picked us apart and made a lot of great reads.”
Sean Kilpatrick exited the game at halftime and did NOT return with a sore left hamstring. Another hamstring injury may be the last thing the Nets need right now.
After the game, Adam Harrington, the Nets director of player development, congratulated Westbrook and renewed old acquaintances. Harrington worked as a shooting specialist for the Thunder. Sebastien Poirier, the Nets assistant trainer, is also a Thunder alum.
Next up: The Knicks - Thursday @ MSG.
- Box Score: Oklahoma City Thunder 122, Brooklyn Nets 104 - NBA.com
- Highlights: Thunder vs. Nets (Video) - NBA.com
- Move of the Night, Marvh 14: Jeremy Lin (Video) - NBA.com
- Fans of the Game (Video) - NBA.com
- Westbrook passes out 19 assists (Video) - NBA.com
- Lopez drops 25 points (Video) - NBA.com
- Westbrook swats it (Video) - NBA.com
- The acrobatics of Lin (Video) - NBA.com
- Take what I want (Video) - NBA.com
- Whitehead wheelin’ and dealin’ (Video) - NBA.com
- Act of improvisation (Video) - NBA.com
- Lob it up (Video) - NBA.com
- Gibson finishes (Video) - NBA.com
- Westbrook finds Adams (Video) - NBA.com
- Atkinson on snowstorm (Video) - YES Network
- Atkinson frustrated by loss (Video) - YES Network
- Lopez on challenge of facing OKC (Video) - YES Network
- Booker on second-half collapse (Video) - YES Network
- Westbrook has 33rd triple-double, Thunder beat Nets 122-104 - Brian Mahoney - AP
- Westbrook's 33rd triple-double leads Thunder past Nets - Larry Fleisher - Reuters
- A lot of people brave snow to see Russell Westbrook destroy Nets - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Russell Westbrook’s triple-double lifts Thunder over pesky Nets - Greg Logan - Newsday