Nets-Thunder Preview

BY foxsports • November 24, 2015

Kevin Durant made an instant impact in his return from injury, and the Oklahoma City Thunder continued to dominate offensively behind their superstar duo.

Durant and Russell Westbrook will look to lead Oklahoma City to its third three-game winning streak of the season Wednesday night against the visiting Brooklyn Nets.

The Thunder (9-6) won 111-89 at Utah on Monday behind Durant's 27 points in his first game since straining his left hamstring in a win at Washington on Nov. 10. They had gone 3-3 without him, averaging 103.0 points on 43.7 percent shooting.

Those numbers increase to 114.3 points and 49.3 percent when Durant plays after Oklahoma City shot a season-high 54.5 percent Monday.

The four-time scoring champion has averaged 28.0 points while shooting a career-best 52.4 percent. He was 10 of 13 from the field with six rebounds and four assists against Utah.

"When I was ready to get back on the court physically, I was there putting my work in making sure my body was ready, my fundamentals were right," said Durant, who has shot 58.5 percent in his last eight meetings with Brooklyn. "I just have the mindset that, no matter what, I just pick up where I left off. I think that is what separates good players from great players, is that mindset."

Russell Westbrook shouldered a larger load in Durant's absence, averaging 32.7 points and 9.3 assists. He remained effective Monday with 20 points - despite a season-low 10 field-goal attempts - and handed out nine assists. The Thunder are scoring 117.5 points per 100 possessions with both on the floor.

"You got 30 points that is not in the lineup, so that changes a lot for your team," Westbrook said, "and when you have that back it makes it easier. As you can see tonight, that makes it a lot easier for us as a team."

Brooklyn (3-11), meanwhile, has been disastrous defensively, giving up 104.4 points per game and 46.6 percent shooting - worst among Eastern Conference teams.

The Nets come off their first win in 11 games when allowing the opposition to reach 100 points, beating Boston 111-101 on Sunday. They shot 50.6 percent compared to a season-low 39.3 mark two days earlier in a 120-95 road loss to the Celtics.

Brook Lopez had 23 points and 10 rebounds, while Jarrett Jack added 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Those two had combined for only 25 points Friday.

Brooklyn also limited Boston to 32 points in the paint, down from the season-high 68 it allowed Friday.

"I think we took what happened the other night personal," Jack said. "Not necessarily per se toward that particular team, I think we took our performance personal."

The Nets are 1-8 on the road but have won their last three visits to Oklahoma City. Brooklyn has won four of the past five meetings overall, though Westbrook missed the last four and Durant the last two.