Jeff Green’s best offensive performance of the season was sparked by a pair of 3-pointers in the opening minutes of the opening quarter. And when they splashed through the net, without so much as grazing the rim, you knew it would be Green’s night. And it couldn’t have come at a better time for the Thunder. Playing its first game without injured leading bench scorer James Harden, Oklahoma City used a season-high 27 points from Green to continue New Jersey’s misery with a 104-102 win over the worst team in basketball. Green scored 20 points in the first half and made 11 of 16 shots on an array of 3-pointers, mid-range shots and driving layups in 41 minutes. His third 3-pointer, a high-arching shot from the right wing that rattled around before dropping with 2:03 left in the third period, put the Thunder up 80-64, its largest lead of the night, and gave Green his 27, one better than a Dec. 13 outing against Cleveland. "I thought Jeff gave us the early lift that we needed,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "He shot the ball well and we were finding him.” With Harden out two to four weeks with a strained right hamstring, the Thunder must now find consistent offensive production from someone in order to replace the rookie’s 10 points and two assists per night. And Green looks like the leading candidate. The third-year forward is coming off a season-best 16.9 points per game in 11 February games in which he shot 48.3 percent from the field and a season-high 42.9 percent from 3-point range. Entering Friday’s game, though, Green’s scoring had slipped to just 11.2 points on 41.5 percent shooting in five games this month. "He knew James wasn’t going to give us that punch off the bench in scoring,” said Kevin Durant. "We fed him the ball and he scored and will continue to do that...That’s what we need from him the rest of the year.” Over the next few weeks, the Thunder also needs someone from the bench to step up. Recalled second-year guard Kyle Weaver went scoreless with only one assist in 10 minutes. Nick Collison had 10 points and nine rebounds to pace the pack. New Jersey’s reserves outscored Oklahoma City’s 53-20 and sparked a fourth-quarter comeback that put a damper on what should have been a blowout. The 33-point margin partly can be chalked up to the Nets’ reserves playing 36 more minutes than their counterparts. But the Nets, who dropped to 7-58 to remain two wins shy of the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers’ NBA-worst 9-73 record, have far less firepower than the Western Conference heavyweights that loom on the remaining 18 games of the Thunder’s schedule. "We have to defend,” Brooks said. "All of our guys, they have to be committed to the defensive end. That’s how we’ve had our success this year.” Said Green: "Collectively, we have to step in and bring the energy that (Harden) brought. Tonight was a good start. But Sunday we have Utah, who’s been playing fantastic ball, and I think we have to bring a little bit more.” Text "OKTHUNDER” to 65360 for your chance to win an Adidas Thunder #22 Jeff Green Away Jersey. NewsOK OKC Thunder news text alerts sponsored by Totally Tickets.