NEWARK, N.J. — It wasn't the prettiest game of ball, but at least this time the Oklahoma City Thunder handled business.
Coming off a loss to the league-worst Washington Wizards, the Thunder had a chance to get back on track against a club with only two more wins. And Oklahoma City did just that against New Jersey, clinching an 84-74 cakewalk at the Prudential Center on Saturday night.
The Thunder led by as many as 17 points and never trailed after Kevin Durant finished a fast break with a tomahawk slam to make it 13-12 with 4:49 remaining in the opening period.
“It was a tough loss for us (at Washington). It was a game I think we should have won,” Durant said. “But tonight, we let that go and we played hard. And our defense was great tonight and we finished it with rebounds.”
The Thunder held the Nets (4-12) to a near decade-low 31 percent shooting from the field. The last time the franchise held an opponent to 31 percent was Dec. 7, 2002, when the Seattle SuperSonics limited Miami to 30.2 percent shooting.
“To hold a team to 30 percent on the road is outstanding,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “I thought our guys did a really good job of contesting.”
At halftime, the Thunder held a 48-35 lead, setting an opponent low for points in any half. Before allowing 23 points in the fourth quarter, the Thunder had kept the Nets below 20 points in each of the first three quarters. Still, one game after allowing the Wizards an opponent high of 105 points, the Thunder held New Jersey to an opponent-low 74 points.
“Defensively, this was probably one of our best performances,” Brooks said.
Most impressively, the Thunder hounded New Jersey into 20 missed 3s on 23 attempts. The Nets entered the night leading the league in 3-point attempts at 26 per game.