The Brooklyn Nets and Oklahoma City Thunder dance at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Friday night in OKC. The Nets bring a record of 12-8 with them to Oklahoma in this one. The Big 3 of James Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving are expected to all suit up, as they continue to try to find some chemistry. Brooklyn is coming off a 132-128 win over the Atlanta Hawks in overtime on Wednesday. They needed overtime to edge out the Hawks but got it done in Atlanta. That was their first of three games on this road trip.
Durant and Harden both recorded over 30 points, while Irving was efficient with 26 points from the field. Others are going to have to step up for the Nets, though. They will not be able to rely on those three alone. The Clippers have Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, but there is actual depth on that roster as well. I’m looking at you DeAndre Jordan. If Jordan can get warmed up and contribute some more, notably defensively, then the Nets are going to be rolling.
They need an anchor in the paint for their defense. As bad as the Lakers looked last night against the Pistons, I have confidence in them finding it easy in a seven-game series against this current Nets team. The same goes for the Clippers. Defensively the Lakers and Clippers are vastly superior to the Nets. We’ll see what the Nets do at the trade deadline, but if they do make a deal, it’s going to be something for depth and defensive help.
If I’m the Nets, I am breaking up the Big 3 and finding a trade suitor for Irving. They’d be better off dealing him for somebody who can play defense around the rim, or at least the way I see it. The Nets could likely fetch something nice for Irving to help their defense out. The defense did play their best basketball of the season two games ago against the Miami Heat.
Brooklyn held the Heat to 85 points in a rare show of force defensively. This 98-85 win was a couple days after they edged out the Beat in a high-scoring contest by a score of 128-124.
Harden and Durant will look to make an impression against their former team in Oklahoma tonight. The Thunder are in a good place despite going into tonight with a record of 8-9.
They received a plethora of draft picks from the LA Clippers, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander following the 2018-19 season. I don’t know, but a 22-year-old Gilgeous-Alexander would likely look nice with Kawhi. The Clippers absolutely need a championship or two, or that trade is going to go down as a disaster. Head below for our free Nets vs. Thunder pick on January 29, 2021.
Brooklyn Nets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder NBA Betting Odds:
Nets vs. Thunder Prediction:
The Thunder are playing better than expected this season and a big reason for that is because of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. The former Clipper, who was included in the Paul George trade, has scored 21.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 6.5 assists per game. The Canadian shooting guard scored 10.8 points per game as a rookie in 2018-19 with the Clippers.
They gave up on him quickly, and he’s been excelling with the Thunder. He recorded 19 points and 5.9 rebounds per game in his first season with Oklahoma City last year. There is going to be some young talent in the pipeline joining Gilgeous-Alexander in the future thanks to the Clippers.
OKC is coming off two impressive wins against the Trail Blazers, 125-122, and 102-97. This was after they fought hard against the Clippers. It was a loss, but credit the Thunder for competing hard on the road at the Staples Center. The Thunder came up short 108-100, but easily covered 13 points. They’ve covered in four of their last six outings. A wonky Nets’ defense has left the backdoor open for opponents this season.
They’ve allowed at least 120 points in five of their previous six performances. The 98-85 win over the Heat is the only outing in their last seven games that they’ve held under 110 points. OKC took advantage of their weak defense on January 10, as they cruised in Brooklyn, 129-116. Al Horford dominated on the interior for 22 points, while Gilgeous-Alexander went off for 31 points. The Nets might win this, but 8.5 points on the road doesn’t carry much value.