Oklahoma City Thunder vs Brooklyn Nets 1/13/22: Starting Lineups, Matchup Preview, Betting Odds, Live Stream
Oklahoma City Thunder vs Brooklyn Nets Matchup Preview (1/13/22)
The Oklahoma City Thunder (13-27) take on the Brooklyn Nets (25-14) in a matchup between polar opposites. The Thunder have the 4th worst record in the league, while the Nets are the title favorites at +250 to win the Finals. After a close 122-118 loss to the Wizards, the Thunder will look to snap their five game losing streak against Kevin Durant and the Nets. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander finally broke out of his recent scoring slump with a 32 point eruption on 13/22 from the field. Although he is shooting a career low from the field (41.5%) and three (27.9 3PT%), Gilgeous-Alexander deserves shielding from criticism. The Thunder do not have another elite scorer, which causes defenses to focus solely on him. He faces the most double-teams in the entire NBA at 17.5 possessions per game and is often forced to pass the ball just after reaching half court to avoid a trap. The Thunder should consider increasing rookie Tre Mann’s minutes. Although he is still raw, Mann’s scoring talent is gravely needed for a team averaging the least amount of points per game (100.0 PPG) in the NBA. Once again, Kenrich Williams (COVID) is expected to be out. The Thunder compensated for this absence against the Wizards by increasing minutes for Darius Bazley and Ty Jerome.
The Brooklyn Nets have looked far from invincible recently, resulting in a 2-4 record to start January. The Nets have a perfect opportunity to rebound from a disappointing 114-108 loss to the Trail Blazers. If healthy, the game would be a near lock for the Nets; however, the Nets are missing several key players. Since it is a home game, Kyrie Irving will be unable to play. James Harden (knee), Nic Claxton (hamstring), and LaMarcus Aldridge (foot) are all questionable to play. Durant will potentially be the only star available for the Nets, a situation that Gilgeous-Alexander is used to on the Thunder. Durant, one of the greatest scorers ever, has scored 25+ points in 11 straight games. Luguentz Dort is an outstanding defender on the Thunder, but he is listed at 6’3” and Durant is listed at 6’10”. Elite perimeter defenders of the last 15 years have thrown their best at Durant, but it is impossible to slow him down. He has firmly thrust himself into the MVP race and is 2nd to win the award (+220) behind former teammate Stephen Curry (+135).
Oklahoma City Thunder vs Brooklyn Nets Betting Odds
The Nets soundly defeated the Thunder 120-96 in their only previous matchup on November 14th. Durant produced 33 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists on 9/17 from the field. Veteran Patty Mills torched the Thunder and scored 29 points off the bench on 10/16 from the field and 9/12 from deep. I am going with the Nets moneyline regardless of whether Harden and Claxton play, but I would only bet up to -4.5 for the spread without them. If they do play, I would bet up to -9.5 Nets. Durant has been too good and the Nets have enough of their supporting cast to beat a young Thunder team. Look for the Thunder to keep pace with the Nets throughout the game though, as a Nets team without Irving and Harden is unlikely to blowout a scrappy Thunder team.
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Time: 8:30 PM ET
Arena: Barclays Center – Brooklyn, NY
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Oklahoma City Thunder Starting Lineup
Oklahoma City Thunder Analysis
Although their record is ugly, the Thunder have seen some bright spots from their young players this season. Giddey has looked the part of a 6th overall pick with his reliable playmaking and ball handling. Along with Giddey, the Thunder should be most excited by Dort and Tre Mann. Dort experienced a meteoric rise to fame when he guarded James Harden in the 2019/20 playoffs. Dort’s bulk and quickness bothered Harden and rattled him about as well as any NBA defender can. During that series, Dort’s offense was extremely limited and inefficient. This season, his growth in the pick and roll is extremely encouraging. Dort’s shooting woes are still a problem, but he is a better ball handler, passer, and finisher at the rim. He will never be a good shooter; however, he just needs to be an average one to be a plus on offense.
In rookie Tre Mann’s final season at Florida, he averaged 16.0 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 3.5 APG on a 45.9 FG% and 40.2 3PT%. Mann is a natural scorer who has the ability to also play off-ball and spot up for threes. Coming off the bench for the Thunder, Mann is averaging 7.3 PPG on 39.6 FG% and 35.4 3PT%. His shooting splits are down, yet the drop is not worrisome since Mann is navigating the difficulties of adjusting to the professional level. The Thunder are embracing player development, so Mann will likely see steady minutes for a bench unit that lacks scoring.
Brooklyn Nets Starting Lineup
Brooklyn Nets Analysis
The Nets have the best trio in the NBA in Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving. However, the role players for the Nets have stepped up and given them depth they sorely lacked last season. Patty Mills has been ice cold recently, but he is still averaging 13 PPG on 41.2% from three. In 14 games, Joe Harris has scored 11.3 PPG on 46.6% from three. Two players who deserve more recognition on the Nets are LaMarcus Aldridge and Cam Thomas. Aldridge is coming off a health scare last year when he thought he could never play again. This season, the 36-year-old veteran is buffing a lackluster big man rotation with 13.3 PPG and 5.6 RPG. Aldridge is not the all star he once was, yet he is productive in his role and provides the Nets depth.
Cam Thomas, meanwhile, is a rookie who has forced the Nets to give him minutes through his occasional offensive outbursts. Last game against the Blazers, Thomas scored 21 points off the bench on 8/12 from the field and 4/7 from three. Like Mann on the Thunder, Thomas is a natural scorer who averaged 23 PPG in his lone season at LSU. The Nets have the starpower and depth to win the title; they must hope injuries and the Kyrie situation does not derail them like last season.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs Brooklyn Nets Daily Fantasy Picks
Durant is an absolute must in this matchup. He averages 32 PPG against the Thunder in his career and will be the main offensive option in this one. The Thunder do not have a big wing that can match Durant’s length, so anticipate Durant to clear the 30 point mark. For the Thunder, I like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to build upon his strong performance from last game. The Nets do not have an elite guard defender to slow him down. Look for Gilgeous-Alexander to score 25+ points while dishing out 7+ assists. If Harden plays, I do not like his matchup here. He is coming off a knee injury and would be guarded by Dort, one of the only players who has visibly bothered Harden with their on-ball defense. A sleeper pick is Cam Thomas, but it will depend on whether Harden can play. Thomas will be cheap and has the potential to score 20 points. Choosing Thomas would be risky, but the value is there.