Thunder All-Star Kevin Durant missed Wednesday night's game at New Jersey with a sprained left knee, and his status is day-to-day going into Friday's game at Toronto.
By that time, Durant will have had three days rest since injuring the knee in the fourth quarter while defending David West in Monday's come-from-behind win against New Orleans in Oklahoma City Arena. "I just fell awkward, kind of sat on my knee a little bit," Durant said. "My knee got caught up under my body."
It was Durant's third missed start of the season. He previously suffered a sprained left ankle, and the Thunder responded by winning back-to-back games at Boston and Milwaukee.
Jeff Green replacedÂ DurantÂ at small forward, and Serge Ibaka started at power forward against the Nets.
"You tell your guys, 'It's not a time that you feel you have to do more. You just have to do what you do and do it well. Just go in there and do your best.' That's been our approach the last two times we played without Kevin and I think the guys have done a really good job with that," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said.
TOUGH TO HANDLE
New Jersey is now 6-13 after Wednesday's gut-wrenching, 123-120 triple-overtime loss to the Thunder, but Brooks likes what he sees.
"It's easy for me to stand up here and say it's tough that one team had to lose," Brooks said. "I give (Nets coach) Avery (Johnson) a lot of credit. He's turning that team around. They're getting better and they're getting better through Avery's work ethic, and you can see it on their team. They gave us everything that we can handle."
UZOH GETS TIME
New Jersey was without point guard Devin Harris, who suffered a strained left knee Tuesday night in a loss against New York inside Madison Square Garden. Harris also will miss Friday's game at Charlotte.
With Harris out, Tulsa product Ben Uzoh became the Nets' backup point guard behind Jordan Farmer.
"We thought he did a nice job for us when Devin got tossed out of the Clipper game (Nov. 15)," Johnson said. "Ben came in and provided the type of defense we're looking for. He's got terrific size for a point guard. He has the capability of making a 3. I told him this morning to not even be so hesitant. Just let it loose and we'll evaluate it after the game is over."
Uzoh played 12 minutes against the Thunder and did not score. He came in having played just 16 total minutes in three games.
Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha entered the contest having converted 17 of his last 27 shots (.630), including 4 of 7 (.571) from 3-point range.
Not coincidentally, Sefolosha has taken extra shots after practice.
"Thabo does a lot of work," Brooks said. "He's one of the best perimeter defenders in the league and he has to be able to stick with that in order for us to continue to improve. When he gets an open shot, I feel confident that he's going to make them. He's serious about being a player. He works every day at it."
Sefolosha said: "I still have a lot of work to do with shooting, but I think (taking extra shots after practice) helps you with your confidence, just having a routine, doing the same thing every day. Moving without the ball really got me going more than anything."
Former Oklahoma State forward Stephen Graham has been in the NBA six seasons and is now with his seventh team â€” he's played for Houston, Chicago, Cleveland, Portland, Indiana, Charlotte and New Jersey. â€¦ Thunder center Nenad Krstic played four seasons (2004-08) with the Nets, but received minimal applause during pregame introductions. â€¦ Russell Westbrook, an 88.6-percent free-throw shooter coming in, missed three of his first six attempts, but finished 10 for 14. â€¦ Five players played 50-plus minutes â€” Sefolosha, Green, Brook Lopez, Anthony Morrow and Farmar.
"He's playing out of his mind, man," â€” Durant on Westbrook