The Oklahoma City Thunder have been among the early surprises in the NBA thus far, thanks in major part to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and his MVP-type season he’s been putting together.
Kevin Durant remains out for the Nets who trail the Celtics by 3.5 games, heading into Sunday.
WHO: Brooklyn Nets (27-14) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (20-23)
WHEN: 6:00 p.m. est
WHERE: YES Network (tv), WFAN-FM (radio)
Rebounding has been a bugaboo for the Nets all season, and the C’s took full advantage, winning the rebound matchup by 17. Without KD to clean that up, the margin for error for Brooklyn has shrunk significantly. The Nets will need to do a good job collectively on the boards so they can control the pace of the game. OKC plays incredibly fast ball (3rd in pace) so everybody will be on the run tonight. As it happens, this OKC’s fourth game in six days, third in four days, and last leg of a four game road trip. Teams sometimes take their foot off the gas pedal the last night of a road trip, so we’ll watch for that tonight.
The Thunder lead the NBA in shots inside the restricted area (32.9 per game), but are dead last in efficiency there (61.9 percent from the field). They’ll face a tall task trying to finish over Nic Claxton at the rim tonight. Clax had another banner game on Thursday with nine points, nine rebounds, and four blocks in 32 minutes. Claxton is one of the game’s best rim protectors and will make OKC think twice about attacking the basket. If Brooklyn can keep them on the perimeter, it’ll force them into tougher jump shots and help slow the Thunder.
For more on the Thunder, check out Welcome to Loud City.