Kevin Durant took a more than deserved break this morning and the Nets noticed. The New Yorkers fell 109-130 in the Thunder’s visit to the Barclays Center, where the Oklahoma City team added a new victory that allows them to reach 14 but not abandon the penultimate position in the West. Steve Nash’s men, for their part, fall to third place in their conference, giving up second place to the Heat, and continue to be unable to continue despite the fact that the recent victory in Chicago has shown that their potential remains intact.
Not only KD was absent this morning, although his absence was undoubtedly the most sensitive since he is the one who has been saving his team in this type of match for practically the entire season. However, Nash’s men were also unable to count on Kyrie Irving, who is still unable to play at home, Patty Mills, who also rested, or the injured Aldridge, Claxton and Harris, which left them with a roster quite limited.
James Harden, with 26 points, 9 assists, 7 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 blocks, tried to save the ballot, but his effort was not enough. “Very tired” he replied when asked how he felt after the game, and presumably that was the case given the tough stretch of schedule that the Brooklynites have gone through, who have played six games with him in the last nine days. Cam Thomas, with 21 points, tried to help him, but his contribution was not enough to save a team in need of a night of disconnection.
The Thunder, for their part, took advantage of the situation to end their five-game losing streak. Led by a sensational Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who bordered on the triple-double by adding 33 points, 10 rebounds and 9 assists, Daigneault’s men dominated the match almost from start to finish, and even with some irregularity they controlled the situation without too many startles. The advantage was almost always close to 20 points, and although the Nets made a small comeback attempt in the fourth quarter, OKC’s response was forceful and immediate.
The success in the triple was essential for the visitors, who finished with 20 shots scored from the perimeter. Six of them were carried out by Luguentz Dort, second in scoring with 27 points, while the rookie Josh Giddey was third after matching his best scoring record with 19 points. The Australian also managed to distribute 7 assists, once again showing his virtues as a passer and helping his team reach 130 points for the first time so far this season.
(Cover photo: Al Bello/Getty Images)