Gameday Dish

Brooklyn Nets v Oklahoma City ThunderThe Oklahoma City Thunder, owners of the best record in the league at 37-10, come to Brooklyn tonight for their only outer-borough appearance of the year.

The Thunder’s newly anointed ‘Slim Reaper’ Kevin Durant is on an amazing streak even for him. The one-time Texas Longhorn has scored over 30 points in each of the last 12 contests, something not done since T-Mac went 14 games over 30 in the ’02-’03 campaign. KD is averaging 38 ppg over this span of a dozen 48s.

Without PG Russell Westbrook, Durant’s sizzling play has led OKC to a nine-game winning streak, longest in the Association.

Coach Scott Brooks’ guys went to South Beach on Wednesday night to play the defending champs and came away with a 112-95 W after trailing early by 18 points. PF Serge Ibaka poured in 20 points and the second-oldest player in the league, Derek Fisher, had a season-best 15 points in the Sunshine State victory.

Even with the Thunder’s spectacular play of late, no team in the NBA has less than 3 losses in January except for the Brooklyn Nets. The 20-23 Nets are 10-2 this month with both defeats administered by the Toronto Raptors.

In fact, Brooklyn last played on Monday night when Toronto ended their 5-game winning streak with a 104-103 home loss. Paul Pierce shot for a season-high 33 points, but missed a tough 3-bomb at the buzzer.

These two sides matched up on January 2nd in Oklahoma City with Brooklyn earning their best win of the season to that point. The Nets’ team D kept KD from going off, holding him to only 24 points. In fact, since Xmas, this was one of only 2 occasions that the NBA scoring leader failed to break 30. Not only did coach Jason Kidd’s team play tough D, but they came back from a 10-point deficit in the final seven minutes and won 95-93 when Joe Johnson’s jumper at the buzzer connected. In addition, PG Deron Williams scored a season-high 29 points in the Sooner State upset.

Tune in to YES Network at 8PM ET to see if Brooklyn can come away with the win against an OKC team that has yet to lose on the road to an Eastern Conference foe.

Gameday Dish

Miami Heat v New York KnicksAfter 35 games the 14-21 Brooklyn Nets are currently slotted in the 8th spot in the tortuous Eastern Conference.

While this record may not seem playoff-worthy, it looks a lot better after a season-high, four-game winning streak, which coach Jason Kidd’s guys hope to extend tonight at home against the 27-9 Miami Heat.

LeBron and company played the other New York City league affiliate last night in Manhattan. Surprisingly they came out on the losing side to the 13-22 Knicks by a score of 102-92.

The Heat were without PG Mario Chalmers, who missed the last two games with a right Achilles strain. League MVP James led his team with 32 points, and Wade chipped in 23.

Both sides shot around 54% from the field. However, NY pounded the Heat on the offensive glass, which led to 14 more field goal attempts. Miami’s 52.4% shooting from the charity stripe was also a factor, and Flash was chippy after the 48 when asked about his 0-6 free throw struggles.

Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty ImagesBrooklyn kicked off their recent win streak with their best coup of the season on January 2nd at OKC.

The Nets have since dispatched Cleveland, Atlanta and Golden State at Barclays. In fact, in their impressive take-down of the Warriors on Wednesday night, the Nets ended the Dubs’ 10-game winning streak.

Playing without C Brook Lopez and PG Deron Williams, Brooklyn’s 102-98 victory was helped by having five players in double figures, led by Joe Johnson’s 27. In addition, C Andray Blatche contributed 17 points off the bench.

Tonight’s game will be the second of four meetings between these squads this season. The first, also in the borough, was on November 1st. That night the Nets prevailed 101-100 with both Lopez and Williams in the lineup. Coach Kidd relied on 11 players’ contributions in the true team win.

Tune in to tonight’s “nickname game” on YES at 8PM ET to see if Brooklyn can continue their winning ways against the scary, 2X defending NBA Champs.

Gameday Dish

Portland Trailblazers v Oklahoma City ThunderThe Brooklyn Nets and Oklahoma City Thunder have both played in 31 contests so far this season. Both sides recently lost one of their two best starters to injuries. And both squads lost to their opponents on Tuesday. However, their similarities end there.

Coach Scott Brooks’ guys lead the Western Conference at 25-6 and possess a home record of 14-2. Coach Jason Kidd’s team sits at 9-21, which is good for the second worst mark in the 30-team league.

Tonight the Nets will wrap up a 3-game road swing that has pitted them against the top 3 records in the NBA. On Saturday the Nets fell to Indiana 105-91 after trailing by just 2 at the half.

On Tuesday, they were manhandled 113-92 in San Antonio. Starting big man Kevin Garnett had 2 points and zero FGs. It was only the second time in KG’s 19-year career that he failed to score from the field.

Brooklyn’s lone win in their past seven games was at home against the sole team in the league looking up at them, the Milwaukee Bucks. In all the major team categories, the Nets rank in the 20’s. They must make a shift, whether it be mental, physical or via trade, to help get back on their predicted track and salvage this season.

Brooklyn Nets v San Antonio Spurs

A good start tonight would be pounding, hounding and surrounding the glass at both ends, as they rank 28th in team rebounding while the Thunder occupy the top spot in boarding.

In addition, with All-Everything PG Russell Westbrook on the shelf for a while, tonight would be a great time for PG Deron Williams and SG Joe Johnson to flash their multiple All-Star credentials and put the pressure on the Thunder’s depleted backcourt.

Are some of Brooklyn’s players past their primes? Yes. Is the Brook Lopez injury devastating to this season’s current outlook? Yes. Were the Nets touted as an Eastern Conference heavyweight too soon after forming their newest nucleus? Yes.

But with 49 regular season games remaining, Brooklyn still has time to flip their fortune and grab one of the weak East’s top 8 spots. A Brooklyn victory this evening would reignite their campaign and stand out as the best W of the season for the Nets.

Tune in to the YES Network at 8PM ET to see if the Nets can bounce back and stop the Durant-led Thunder storm.

Gameday Dish

Detroit Pistons v Brooklyn NetsThe 8-14 Brooklyn Nets come to the Motor City tonight riding a three-game win streak and playing their best basketball of the season so far.

On the home bench, the 10-13 Detroit Pistons have dropped their last three contests, including a tough overtime L on Wednesday in The Big Easy. Detroit’s team defense let them down in these losses, allowing the opposition to average 114 ppg and to shoot 49.4 % from the field and 41.3 % from the arc.

Both squads entered this 2013-2014 campaign with high hopes of renewed success. The Pistons hired new head coach Maurice Cheeks, brought in athletic F Josh Smith and Mr. Big Shot Chauncey Billups, and traded for the dynamic youngster G Brandon Jennings.

These fresh Pistons added to the fearsome youthful twosome of C Andre Drummond and PF Greg Monroe had Motowners’ minds thinking playoffs for the first time since 2009.

The much talked about Brooklyn team has seemingly endured a season’s worth of scrutiny before Christmas. With the highest payroll in the NBA and the additions of KG, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry and first-year head coach Jason Kidd in the off-season, expectations in the borough and beyond were sky high.

Copyright 2013 NBAE - Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty ImagesWith All-Star PG Deron Williams missing 11 of their 22 games and All-Star C Brook Lopez out for 7, the Nets have spent the first fourth of the season behind the proverbial 8-ball.

Throw in the fact that both the 16th-year Pierce and 19th-year Garnett seem at least a step slower this season, and you have professional prognosticators predicting their early demise.

Tonight’s 48 represents the second of four meetings between these two sides this season. The Pistons bested the Nets in Brooklyn 109-97 on November 24th.

The Nets competed without Lopez and Williams in the loss and were led by SG Joe Johnson’s season-high 34 points, including 8 for 10 from beyond the arc. Detroit was led by 7th-year combo guard Rodney Stuckey’s 27 points off the bench.

Tune in to YES Network at 7:30 PM ET to see if Brooklyn will continue their solid play and extend their winning streak to four games, or if Detroit will turn their luck around on Friday the 13th.

Gameday Dish

Brooklyn Nets v Toronto RaptorsWhile heavy rain and high winds batter Brooklyn, the Lakers and Nets will battle inside Barclays Center on the eve of Thanksgiving. This will be their first matchup of the 2013-14 season.

The 4-10 Nets and the 7-8 Lakers both played games away from home last night. Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Andrei Kirilenko and Jason Terry were all sidelined with injuries.

But the shorthanded Nets put forth a maximum effort and won in Toronto 102-100, breaking a season-high, five-game losing streak. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett combined for 28 points, which is the most they’ve tallied since arriving in Brooklyn.

The Lake Show sans the newly-extended Kobe, whose 2-year extension makes the Mamba the first player in NBA history to play for the same franchise for 20 years, lost to the Wizards 116-111. Former Net Jordan Farmar scored a team-high 22 points off the bench.

Both sides have had to persevere without key players this young season. Lakers’ coach Mike D’Antoni has had to count on a bunch of his secondary guys to make up for the huge statistical and emotional hole left by Bryant’s absence due to the ruptured Achilles tendon he’s been nursing since last April.

And on the opposing bench, first-year Brooklyn coach Jason Kidd, already under intense media scrutiny, has been forced to juggle lineups and rotations with starters Lopez and Williams out six and three games respectively with left ankle injuries.

In addition, with the influx of super-veterans KG, Pierce, Terry and Kirilenko, Coach Kidd and his staff have been forced to carefully dole out minutes and make calculated decisions regarding resting these “Greybeards” on particular nights so as to keep their tanks as full as possible come the second half of the schedule.

However, with expectations sky-high heading into this season mixed with the team’s slow start and injuries, Kidd and company may be forced to right the ship ASAP with recalibrated, extended playing time for their players born in the seventies.

Tonight’s 48 represents the second half of back-to-back games for both teams. The Lake Show at 0-3 and the Brooklyn Ballers at 0-2 have yet to notch a W in the rigorous second game of a set. In fact, the last time the Nets faced this scenario, KG & PP participated in the first game and sat out game number 2.

Tune in to YES at 7:30 PM ET to see if Brooklyn can break the Lakers’ 10-game win streak over their franchise and pick up their first home win in four games.