NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, January 2nd (All times Eastern)
Brooklyn Nets (16-15) at Oklahoma City Thunder (24-6), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Oklahoma City Thunder have taken a page from the Under Armour campaign, which lives by the oath "we must protect this house."
Chesapeake Energy Arena has been a house of horrors for opposing teams and it will be the Brooklyn Nets' turn to try and stop Oklahoma City's 12-game home winning streak when the two clubs collide Wednesday.
The Thunder have the longest current home winning streak in the NBA and opened a three-game residency with Monday's 114-96 triumph over the Phoenix Suns. Kevin Durant scored 30 points and sidekick Russell Westbrook posted 24 points, nine assists and seven rebounds for Oklahoma City, which is 16-2 as the host and hasn't lost at home since Nov. 14 versus Memphis.
Westbrook's toughness was on display after he needed stitches to close a gash above his right eye.
"I was glad he came back here and got stitched up and was able to play again," Durant said. "He came out there with a lot of anger and it showed on both ends of the floor. He pushed us over the top."
Serge Ibaka and Thabo Sefolosha scored 16 and 14 points, respectively, in the win, the Thunder's third straight overall and 15th in 17 tries. OKC made 50.6 percent of its shots and scored 17 points off 15 Phoenix turnovers.
"I thought that was a good team win," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "A lot of guys did a lot of good things offensively. We did a good job taking care of the ball as well."
Durant averaged 31 ppg in December for the Thunder, who are 13-0 this season when five players score in double digits and posted an Oklahoma City-low five turnovers.
Oklahoma City recorded a 14-game home winning streak last season and the franchise ripped off 17 home wins in a row from Nov. 11, 1994-Jan. 24, 1995, when the team was formerly known as the Seattle SuperSonics. The Thunder will conclude their current homestand Friday versus the Philadelphia 76ers.
OKC has fared well against teams from the East this season, going 10-3 overall and 5-1 as the host.
Brooklyn fell to 2-1 under interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo and rumors have been swirling that the Nets will reach out to legendary coach Phil Jackson, an 11-time champion.
The Nets had won two in a row and three of five games until an embarrassing 104-73 loss at San Antonio Monday night in the opener of a three-game road trip. MarShon Brooks scored 16 points and Joe Johnson had 12 for the Nets, who committed 18 turnovers that were converted into 28 Spurs' points and made only 37.8 percent from the field.
A 30-5 difference (2-of-20 shooting) in the third quarter is what did the Nets in, while San Antonio set a franchise low for fewest points by an opponent in the period.
"We're out of whack as a group. Even on bad nights, I don't play like this. It doesn't even feel like it's me out there on the court," said Nets point guard Deron Williams, who had eight points and only one assist. "Tonight was just another night I didn't help. I said (at the beginning of the season) we had a great team on paper. I said it would take some time for us to jell. I didn't think it would take this long."
Brooklyn hit only 4-of-17 3-pointers and has lost four in a row on the road. The Nets, who haven't won in San Antonio since Jan. 22, 2002, are 5-8 as the visitor and will close out the road swing Friday against the Washington Wizards. In injury news for Brooklyn, forward Gerald Wallace (knee) is questionable Wednesday.
The Nets and Thunder will close out their two-game season series Wednesday as Oklahoma City registered a 117-111 road win back on Dec. 4 behind 32 points, six assists and five rebounds from Durant. Williams had 33 points in that one to pace Brooklyn, which is winless in the last seven meetings with OKC.
Oklahoma City is 10-3 in the past 13 overall matchups between the teams and has played exceptionally well as the host, winning 19 of the last 22 games.
01/02 10:30:12 ET