Thunder-Nets Preview

The Oklahoma City Thunder are tied for the most wins in the NBA,

and not surprisingly Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have led

the charge – especially during their current winning streak.

They’ll look to help lead Oklahoma City to a season-best sixth

consecutive win Tuesday night against the Brooklyn Nets, who begin

a four-game homestand.

The Thunder (14-4) began their streak with a 116-109 overtime

win at Philadelphia on Nov. 24 and have won their last four by an

average of 25.0 points.

Durant scored 20 points while Westbrook added 18 and 10 assists

before both sat out the fourth quarter of a 100-79 rout of New

Orleans on Saturday.

“As a team we’re doing a better job of not focusing on who we’re

playing, but focusing on ourselves and trying to find a way where

we can get better,” Westbrook said.

Durant has a pair of 37-point performances while shooting 56.4

percent during the winning streak, with Westbrook averaging 19.4

points and 9.4 assists.

“Russell was Russell. He was able to get me open shots and I

just tried to do my part,” Durant said Saturday. “He sets the tone

for us by pressuring the point and disrupted them early on.”

Westbrook also added three steals, one night after having a

season-high seven in a 106-94 win over Utah.

“I thought he had one of his better games,” coach Scott Brooks

said. “He’s had a bunch of them lately on both ends of the floor.

There’s not a lot of guys in this league that can impact a game

defensively and offensively like he has.”

Westbrook scored 21 points and Durant added 20 in an 84-74

victory over the Nets on Jan. 21, Oklahoma City’s sixth straight in

the series.

Brooklyn (11-5) will look to halt that skid in the first of four

straight home games against solid competition. It will face Golden

State on Friday and Milwaukee on Sunday before another showdown

with New York on Dec. 11.

The Nets had their five-game winning streak snapped with a

102-89 loss at Miami on Saturday despite seven players scoring in

double figures. Andray Blatche started in place of Brook Lopez

(foot) and scored 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

Lopez will miss his third straight game Tuesday giving Blatche

another start, and coach Avery Johnson hopes he can add a better

defensive presence down low.

“One thing from Blatche, and he’ll probably tell you the same

thing, we need more blocked shots,” Johnson said. “We need better

defense in the paint. When you move into a starting role, you’re

playing against a different caliber (of opponent) and things are a

lot more magnified. He’s capable of it.”

The Nets also will be without reserve forward Reggie Evans,

averaging a team-high 8.4 rebounds, due to the flu.

Deron Williams, averaging 24.0 points in his last six versus the

Thunder, went 3 for 11 from the field and scored 10 against the

Heat. He shot 5 of 18 in last season’s meeting with Oklahoma


Williams has totaled only 29 points over his last three games

and is shooting 32.8 percent over his past 10, but the Nets are 7-3

in that span.

“In Deron’s case, he’ll be fine,” Johnson said. “He’s the last

guy I’m worried about.”

Durant has averaged 29.8 points in his last four games against

the Nets.