Fourth game in five days for the Nets, and Steve Nash had decided to rest Kevin Durant and Patty Mills, while Kyrie Irving, unvaccinated, is still not allowed to play at home. Result: the Thunder took advantage of these absences, but also of the fatigue of their teammates to win 130-109 at the Barclays Center.
After a good start from the anonymous Kessler Edwards on the Nets side, it was Shai Gilgeous-Alexander who took charge and the back of the Thunder succeeds in everything he does for the moment. His compatriot Luguentz Dort takes over (19 points at the break), and confirms his good progress on long shots. The Thunder presses the accelerator, to take advantage of the heavy legs of the Nets, and the gap gradually widens. At the break, Mark Daignault’s men are very logically ahead (70-51).
Back from the locker room, same scenario, and the SGA-Dort tandem continues to do great damage in a very lax defense. Only David Duke Jr and James Harden seem concerned on this side of the field, while Cam Thomas plants from afar. The public may well push his brave players, Josh Giddey perfectly manages the second period, and the Thunder wins (130-109).
WHAT YOU MUST REMEMBER
– A takeable Barclays Center. Halfway through, the Nets have already lost 11 times at home! In their room, they display a just balanced balance sheet. Difficult to aim for the title when you are so little sovereign in your room. Conversely, Brooklyn is much more comfortable outside with only four defeats.
– The return of Paul Millsap. Not used by Steve Nash for 8 games, the veteran strong winger was anything but tired… Facing the young Thunder, he had an impact from his entry and he compiled 8 points, 7 rebounds (including 4 offensive!), 2 blocks, 1 pass in 10 minutes. Taking advantage of absences and rest periods, he shows that he is ready to help if he has the opportunity.
– Two season records. The Thunder are the worst team in the league on 3-point shots, but they got it right tonight with 20 3-pointers, including 6 of 10 for Lu Dort and 4 of 4 for Mike Muscala. This is their record for the season. Another record: 32 assists.
✅ Shai Gilgeous Alexander. The Canadian franchise player is a terrific player, and he showed the Brooklyn crowd that he could score from anywhere he wanted. After a prosperous first period (20 points) where we will cause fault after fault, the former Clipper also treated his teammates to superb caviars (9). With one more pass, he would have reached the triple-double mark (33 points, 10 rebounds).
✅ Luguentz Sleeps. The Quebec buffalo is also transforming into an offensive machine. Praised for his defensive qualities, the former Arizona State has become very reliable from afar (6/10 from 3-pointers), and his attacks in the circle are fierce, not hesitating to go and rub his enormous build on the interiors opponents.
⛔ Blake Griffin. Once again, Blake Griffin sinks a little more in the esteem of coach Nash. The former Clipper can’t keep up with the pace, and gets lost too easily in defense. Paul Millsap is much more interesting in the game, as soon as he has opportunities.
Brooklyn (26-15) : reception of the Pelicans on Saturday evening.
Oklahoma City (14-27) : return home to face the Cavaliers on Saturday.