5 Assists for Reggie Jackson in addition to nine points and three rebounds
8-for-13 Shooting numbers for Kevin Durant, who scored 24 points
9 Steals for the Thunder, including six in the second quarter
9 Players who scored seven-or-more points for the Thunder tonight
26 Points that the Thunder scored off of 19 Brooklyn turnovers
33-15 The amount by which the Thunder outscored the Nets by in the second quarter
36-24 The Thunder’s advantage in points in the paint on the night
Dec. 2nd, 2013
Just as he has been coached to do, Serge Ibaka dove to the rim, filling the lane with his long frame. With his hands ready, he snagged a tipped pass and finished at the rim with a game-tying layup with 5.8 seconds remaining.
On the ensuing Brooklyn Nets possession, Ibaka once again used his length, contesting on a Joe Johnson fall-away jumper. With less than a tenth of a second left on the clock, Ibaka forced Johnson to loft his shot high above an out-stretched arm. As the buzzer sounded, all eyes turned to the bucket, as the ball gently rolled in and left the Thunder with a 95-93 loss.
Despite fighting in the closing seconds to send it to overtime, the Thunder fell to the Nets when Johnson's shot sunk on Thursday night.
The Thunder built up a 16-point lead in the second quarter behind an extremely strong defensive effort when it made six steals and held Brooklyn to just 3-for-16 shooting in the period. Behind a balanced effort where nine players scored seven-or-more points and the efficient scoring of Kevin Durant, who had 24 points on 8-for-13 shooting, Head Coach Scott Brooks’ club was seemingly in control.
An unfortunate 5-0 Nets burst at the end of the third quarter gave Brooklyn momentum heading into the fourth, when a 14-0 run gave the Nets the lead in the closing seconds, setting up Ibaka’s game-tying bucket and Johnson’s winner.
“We just have to be better,” Durant said. “It’s tough to swallow, losing at the buzzer like that after being up so much… We have to keep going. When a team is down you have to keep them down.”
“We have to do a better job of protecting leads,” Brooks said. “That’s something we have to do a better job of, especially on our home floor. We worked hard enough to get a 16-point lead and then we had a lot of mental mistakes that have to be corrected.”
The Thunder followed up a second quarter when it outscored the Nets 33-15 with two quarters that didn’t meet their standards for execution. With 14 turnovers in the final two periods the Thunder gave Brooklyn too many opportunities and didn’t give itself enough looks at the rim in order to maintain its lead. As the team continues to adjust to new roles and playing without guard Russell Westbrook who is out with a knee injury, nights like Thursday are an opportunity to continue learning. For Brooks’ club, limiting turnovers and being consistent for 48 minutes is crucial to success.
“We do turn it over from time to time, but some of our turnovers tonight were just unacceptable,” Brooks explained. “We have to do a better job of closing out quarters. We have to do a better job of finishing the game.”
Regardless of whether players who are seeing action are young or old, each man is held to the same standards and is accountable for executing their job to the best of their ability. Moving forward, the Thunder coaching staff and team leaders will help everyone on the squad figure out how best to work together with one another. On offense the Thunder must space the floor and let the offense score for it, and on defense the team must be locked in and communicate on every possession.
“We have to be more disciplined to get into our spots,” Brooks said. “We’ve done a great job of that all year. It’s unfortunate that we had two bad quarters back-to-back. You can absorb six-or-seven minutes in a game, but we had 24 minutes of that in the second half.”
The Thunder led 89-79 with 6:54 remaining in the game after Reggie Jackson completed an and-one layup with a drive to the rim, but after that the Nets went on a 14-0 run to take its first lead since the second quarter and eventually get the win. Joe Johnson hit a turnaround jumper to start the Brooklyn run, then Kevin Garnett hit a jumper before Paul Pierce hit a three-pointer and a step-back jumper to pull Brooklyn within one at 89-88. Deron Williams then made a steal and hit a three-pointer before adding a turnaround jumper to give the Nets a 93-89 lead with 1:31 remaining in the game. During that stretch, the Thunder missed five shots and turned the ball over five times.
PLAYS THE BOX SCORE DOESN'T SHOW, FIRST HALF:
Thunder defenders recover in transition to force the Nets into a three-second violation turnover. Excellent backdoor feed from Kendrick Perkins to Kevin Durant for a wide open layup. Great job attacking the pick-and-roll by Steven Adams and Derek Fisher to create a steal with active hands. Excellent court vision and confidence by Jeremy Lamb to find Perry Jones in the corner for a three-pointer right after he missed one. Durant anticipates a lob pass and blocks an alley-oop attempt. Nice job by Durant to push tempo immediately after a Nets miss then relocate to get a kick-out for three.
PLAYS THE BOX SCORE DOESN'T SHOW, SECOND HALF:
Solid defense by Kendrick Perkins on a point guard after a switch to prevent a drive and force a long missed two-pointer. Thabo Sefolosha hustles back in transition defense to block a sure layup and force Brooklyn to pull the ball back out, then Fisher steps and in draws a charge. Strong box out by Jones frees up Sefolosha for a clean defensive rebound. Quick hands by Durant to deflect a pass along the wing to disrupt a possession, eventually resulting in a Nets turnover.
“It’s unfortunate, but it’s something we can watch on film tomorrow and try to turn it around going into Minnesota.” - Head Coach Scott Brooks