By Nick Ziegler (@Ziggy26x)
January 31st, 2014
W2W4: Oklahoma City Thunder vs Brooklyn Nets
The Brooklyn Nets will be hosting the red hot Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night at the Barclays Center, as New York continues their great week of sports leading up to the Superbowl on Sunday night. The Nets are coming off of just their second loss of 2014 to the Raptors on Tuesday night, and are now three games behind the Raptors in the Atlantic Division.
The main goal for the Nets on Friday night will be trying to slow down Thunder Forward Kevin Durant, who is playing some of the best basketball in his career over the past few weeks. In the past 12 games Durant is averaging 38 points per game, while shooting over 50% from the field, so for the Nets it will have to be a group effort on the defensive end to try and slow him down. In the beginning of the month in the Nets victory over the Thunder, they held Durant to just 24 points and he turned the ball over five times. If the Nets can replicate the way they played on January 2nd, they will be in good shape for a win on Friday.
On Thursday night the Eastern Conference named its All-Star reserves, and Nets Guard Joe Johnson was selected to his seventh All-Star team. The selection of Johnson was an interesting one, as for besides a stretch of great basketball in January, Johnson’s season hasn’t been anything spectacular. This season Johnson is averaging just 15.7 PPG, 3.4RPG, and 2.8APG. None of his stats are very eye-popping, but in a bad Eastern Conference, Johnson got the nod. One of Johnson’s best moment of the season happened in the win over the Thunder, as he hit a buzzer-beater that seemed to get him going on a little roll, which is something the Nets would like to see again.
-Finish January Strong
The first month of 2014 has been a great one for the Nets, as they have gained a ton of ground and turned their season around, and in the final day of the month, getting another great win over the Thunder would build confidence heading into February. If the Nets can defeat the Thunder on Friday it will be their 11th win of the month, and they would finish the month with just the two losses to the Raptors. On Saturday the Nets will be heading to Indiana, so getting a win Friday night at home would be great or the Nets may see themselves on a three-game losing streak very quickly.