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News » Nets-Thunder Preview

Nets-Thunder Preview

Nets-Thunder Preview
Having ended a pair of lengthy losing streaks, the New Jersey Nets' next priority is avoiding a letdown in their next game.

The Nets look to build on their latest win and secure their fourth straight victory over the last-place Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night at the Ford Center.

New Jersey (20-24) ended a five-game losing streak and six-game road skid Saturday, defeating Memphis 99-88. Opponents scored 104.8 points per contest while shooting 50.8 percent from the field during the five-game slide, but the Nets limited the Grizzlies to 42.9 percent shooting.

Vince Carter had a team-high 23 points and seven rebounds while Devin Harris added 17 points and eight assists for New Jersey, which hadn't won since beating Oklahoma City 103-99 in overtime at home Jan. 12.

The Nets came close to ending their skid Friday night at San Antonio before falling 94-91.

"We wanted to break the losing streak," said Carter, averaging 23.0 points over his last three games after scoring 22 combined in the previous three outings. "We felt like we let one slip away (against San Antonio). We played well enough to beat a very good team, but we didn't get the job done. We wanted to bounce back."

New Jersey, which hasn't won back-to-back games since Jan. 5-7, earned its first road victory since Dec. 27 against Charlotte. Monday marks the final stop on a four-game swing through Western Conference cities.

Harris is averaging 23.9 points in 17 road games this season, but he's averaged 7.5 in six career road contests against the Oklahoma City franchise. The Thunder have won four of their last seven at home.

The Nets have dropped seven of their previous nine away games versus the Thunder franchise, but this will be the teams' first meeting at the Ford Center since the former SuperSonics relocated from Seattle.

New Jersey's win over Oklahoma City earlier this month - the clubs' first matchup of 2008-09 - was its third straight in the series. Nets rookie Brook Lopez had a season-high 31 points and 13 rebounds, while Carter scored 21 points and Harris added 17.

The Thunder (9-35) were paced by Kevin Durant's 26 points and nine rebounds in that contest, while rookie Russell Westbrook had 19 points.

Oklahoma City comes in with the league's worst record. Its latest defeat occurred Friday night, 107-104 on the road to the Los Angeles Clippers despite a record-setting performance from Durant.

The 2007-08 Rookie of the Year, playing with a sore left shoulder, established career highs with 46 points and 15 rebounds. He set a franchise mark by making 24 free throws in 26 attempts.

Durant has been a rare bright spot in Oklahoma City's rough season, ranking among the NBA leaders with a team-best 24.7 points per game.

Despite their poor record, the Thunder are in the midst of their best stretch of 2008-09, splitting their last 12 contests.

"As a team, we've got to help each other out. You've got to bring it every day," said Durant, who also leads Oklahoma City with 6.6 rebounds per contest. "Every game is tough for us, so we've got to come out and play hard."

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: January 25, 2009


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