(SportsNetwork.com) – The Oklahoma City Thunder continue life without Kevin
Durant and Russell Westbrook Monday night when they visit the Barclays Center
to face the Brooklyn Nets.
With Durant (foot) and Westbrook (hand) both out at least another month, OKC
pressed on without them. On Saturday, with just eight healthy players, the
Thunder posted a 102-91 win over the Denver Nuggets in their home opener.
“A lot of our guys had never been in this situation,” Thunder head coach Scott
Brooks said. “It’s valuable experience for all of us.”
On the same day Westbrook underwent surgery on his broken hand, the Thunder
nearly coughed up a 26-point lead. Denver fought back in the fourth quarter
and the margin sank to three.
Serge Ibaka and Perry Jones each hit big 3-pointers down the stretch, however,
and both scored 23 points to lead Oklahoma City’s balanced attack.
Kendrick Perkins contributed 17 points, Steven Adams netted 13 and Lance
Thomas added 12 with eight rebounds for the Thunder, who were on the verge of
starting 0-3 for the first time since moving to Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma City is also without Reggie Jackson (ankle), Anthony Morrow (knee)
and Jeremy Lamb (back). None are expected back in the lineup by Monday night.
For Brooklyn, Monday is the team’s home opener after back-to-back road
appearances to start the season.
One big thing to come at the home opener will be the season debut of All-Star
center Brook Lopez.
After season-ending foot surgery in December cost him a huge chunk of the
2013-14 campaign, Lopez sprained his foot in the preseason. He missed both of
the Nets’ first two games, but is listed as probable for Monday and is
expected to play.
“I think I’m just going to have to come out and be mentally prepared, make
sure I have the sets down, the defensive plays,” Lopez said. “It’s tough
coming in from doing pretty much nothing to playing a whole NBA game with the
speed of the game and everything that’s going on.”
The Nets collected their first win of the season on the shoulders of All-Star
Joe Johnson. He scored 15 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter to lead
Brooklyn to a 102-90 road win over the Detroit Pistons on Saturday.
Kevin Garnett contributed an 18-point, 14-rebound double-double and Deron
Williams added 15 points with six assists for the Nets, who helped head coach
Lionel Hollins to his first win at the helm.
“It was a big win. To be 1-1 is definitely better than being 0-2,” said
Hollins. “I would have been proud of us the way we played tonight even if it
didn’t turn out that way.”
The two teams split a pair of matchups last season, but the Thunder carry a
five-game road winning streak in this series into Monday’s affair.