Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Notes: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Brooklyn Nets [12/04/12]

Oklahoma City Thunder 117 - Brooklyn Nets 111

The Good

Thunder: OKC is never short of surprises, the young talent on this team just keeps improving. Serge Ibaka has already developed a nice mid range game and now Thabo Sefolosha is a legitimate threat from three. They do have the benefit of having Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant to draw defenses away for a ridiculous open look, but if they can keep this up, forget Harden. Losing him might turned out for the better.

It is evident that these guys love playing (BASKETBALL) with each other, just the synchronization of their defensive rotations shows the trust they have in their teammates. Add that with the length of each player, you can imagine how hard it is to make a pass inside, let alone getting an uncontested look in the paint. As for the offense, the Thunder shot 61 percent from the field in this game, if they were not getting easy looks from the Russ-KD pick and roll, they were getting free throws.

More on the two man game in the bad section of the Nets.

Nets: The short amount of time this team took to get things together is baffling. Although Avery Johnson's coaching is questionable at times, he has done a great job to implement all the new pieces his rich Russian owner got him. I mean, even Andray Blatche looks like a real NBA player, you got to give him credit for that.

Deron Williams is the key component of Brooklyn's offense. If he starts making his shots, everything else will follow. Consistency is an issue for Deron, one night he can show you why he is considered as the top candidate for the best point guard in the league and look completely average in another. But without Mr. Hair Helmet, his team scrambles to find a good shot in half court. His play making is vital, especially when Joe Johnson is not playing at the level that they expected from him.

Offensive rebounding and three point shooting kept them in the game. In the third quarter comeback, Avery went with a small line up that placed Gerald Wallace at the 4 to space out the Thunder defense. An issue arises for Serge Ibaka when he has to defend a 4 that can shoot, his tendency to stay in the paint to help after a pick and roll leaves his man at the top for open shots. As streaky as Gerald Wallace is, he knocked back to back to back threes to help outscore OKC by 11 in that quarter to be give them a real scare.

The Bad

Thunder: Considering how well the pick and roll/pop with Kevin Durant worked against the Nets defense, there were way to many Russell Westbrook isos. Having the second best player in the league watching you take a lower percentage shot is not an ideal possession.

The only other bad thing was KD missing a potential dunk of the year. This would have marked the end of Gerald Wallace's career.

Nets: Brooklyn's defense was not as bad as it sounded, they just didn't make the right adjustments for a team like OKC. Their biggest problem was over hedging. The purpose of hedging is for the defender of the screener (usually a forward) to show enough to deter the ball handler from driving into the basket and give your guy time to recover. Against an explosive guard like Russell Westbrook, it would only make sense to do this every time. But not when the screener is Kevin Durant, if you hedge for a second longer, a short pass from Russ will leave the NBA scoring champ open. It is really a pick your poison situation for the Nets, the best choice is to trust that your help will bail you out if Russ blows by D. Will.

Brook Lopez (Injury) is not good defender by any means, but the missing height in the front court definitely hurt them. And some inside scoring would have helped too.

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