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With key players still out, Nets lose to Thunder, 90-76

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The Nets are 0-2 in Summer League and without their best players after Saturday’s loss to the Thunder at Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas. OKC was led by Hamidou Diallo, the Lefrak City swingman who the Nets took with the 45th pick, then traded to Charlotte as part of the Dwight Howard deal. Diallo finished with 19 points, eight rebounds and several monster dunks.

For the Nets, who were cheered on by Jeremy Lin and several other teammates, it was another frustrating game. The Nets decided again not to play Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen and were forced to keep Rodions Kurucs on the bench. The Nets haven’t yet finalized buyouts with F.C. Barcelona where the 6’10” forward played for the last three years. In addition, Juan Pablo Vaulet, the Nets Argentine stash, is still out with foot problems.

After the Nets went out to an early lead, the Thunder went on a 30-13 binge. At one point in the second half, the Nets were down by 30. The margin never fell below double digits. A late run helped made it look respectful.

LeVert and Allen are expected to play Monday night vs the Timberwolves and Marks told NBA TV he hopes to get European buyout deals done “shortly.” Vaulet remains day-to-day.

For the Nets, Theo Pinson, their 6’7” point guard, and Yuta Watanabe, a 6’9” stretch 4, had solid games. Pinson, who shot 25.9 percent from three during four years at UNC, made three of his five long-range shots Saturday on his way to a game-high 16 points. Pinson also had five boards, two blocks and two steals.

“I found myself doing too much early. Once I kept it simple the game came easy,” Pinson said post-game.

Watanabe, the A-10 Defensive Player of the Year, had four blocks and two steals to go with 13 points and five rebounds. James Webb III, who played for Nets both in Long Island and Brooklyn last year, had 12 and 6. However, Shawn Dawson who managed 20 points in 18 minutes Friday finished with three Saturday in one fewer minutes.

“We didn’t play well today, but the fourth quarter I felt like we played together,” said Watanabe. “I could attack the rim more, so I feel really comfortable right now.”

“I’m starting to get comfortable,” added the Japanese star, who Jacque Vaughn used as a stretch 4. “That’s one of my strengths. I’m 6’9”, long, athletic, I have no problem playing the 4 … I’m glad I was able to show I can play defense, even as a 4.”

Diallo, however, was the star of the night showing off both long-range shooting skills and a couple of monster dunks, one a two-handed hammer that brought down the house. Asked post-game if there was extra motivation playing against the team that drafted him, Diallo smiled and said no.

Jeremy Lin joined teammates D’Angelo Russell, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Isaiah Whitehead at the game. He told writers that he was cleared for contact work six weeks ago, He admitted he’s “not as explosive as I want to be.”

As for trade rumors, Lin said he’s ignoring them until the Nets tell him they’re serious.

At half time, Sean Marks spoke with NBA TV’s Rick Kamla and Derek Fisher about what . Marks called the “so-called” logjam in the backcourt. “Having a little bit of depth at the position proved to be vital for us (last season),” he noted adding that competition will help things get sorted out.