The Nets are in the midst of a bit of a road trip as they visit the Sooner State on Friday evening to take on the Thunder. They carved out an overtime win on Wednesday in Atlanta against the Hawks. The Thunder have won two games in a row and return home for the first game since their west coast road trip last week.
Brooklyn Nets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Friday, January 29th, 2021 – 08:00 PM EDT at Chesapeake Energy Arena
Will Brooklyn’s Lack of Depth Hurt Them?
The Nets have three absolute all-stars in Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden. There is no disput about it. They are great talents in their own rights. The issue with this Nets team right now is their lack of size and depth. If you watch them play, they are out-rebounded often and play very little defense, particularly on the inside. That’s because they traded away their size and depth and are exceptionally reliant on KD, Kyrie and Harden as a result. The issue with this strategy is that these guys skill sets are somewhat redundant. Kyrie and Harden both like to be the primary ball-handler. They both like to bring the ball up court. All three of them fall into iso-heavy play at times during games. They all are going to take a lot of shots. When the shots are falling the Nets are going to be near impossible to beat. When they’re not falling, the Nets are highly susceptible to defeat. Also, their lack of defense and rebounding leaves the back-door open for covers against a lot of teams.
The Nets are an interesting team when it comes to sports betting. According to Oddstrader, they are the second choice currently to win the 2021 NBA championship.
Can Oklahoma City Score Enough To Hang With Brooklyn?
This iteration of the Thunder is a young, scrappy, hard playing, defense oriented bunch. There isn’t a ton of shooting to be found here, but what they do, they do very well. Oklahoma City plays sticky defense and that will be a necessity against Brooklyn tonight. They need to make the Nets work for every bucket, because they are in the middle of a road trip and did just have a street fight against the Hawks that had to take something out of them. Remember the Nets are still integrating everyone into this new fit. The Thunder will have to take advantage of the Nets porous defense if they want to have a chance to be in this game into the fourth quarter.
This is an interesting test for both teams. It will be curious to see if any of the Nets big three is on a minutes restriction after the overtime game against Atlanta. It will also be curious to watch how they handle the pesky defense of Oklahoma City. The Nets do have another game in Washington on Sunday, while Oklahoma City is off until Monday and stays home.
I think what this game comes down to for me is the fact that Brooklyn, while a prolific offensive team, just does not have the defensive capabilities to put teams out of games with consistency. Oklahoma City is definitely not a high scoring squad, but their task should be made a bit easier by their opponent tonight. I think it’s a longshot for the Thunder to win the game outright, but I am simply not willing to trust the Nets to lay multiple possessions yet. There will be times, I’m certain, when this strategy backfires and the Nets blow teams out. However there will also be times when they play closer games than they should. This feels like a bigger game for the Thunder than it does for the Nets. I will side with the home team to keep this game within the number and back the Thunder plus the points.
NBA Pick: Oklahoma City +8.5 (-110) at BetMGM