Williams set the tone with five assists in the first quarter, matching the total the Thunder had as a team in the period, and created one quality shot after another for his teammates.
While the Thunder was a step slow rotating and closing out on shooters defensively, Oklahoma City was out of sync offensively. The Thunder turned the ball over 20 times, leading to 30 Nets points.
“Our turnovers and not contesting shots and not making timely rebounds cost us the game,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks.
The Thunder trailed 61-45 at halftime but trimmed that deficit to four heading into the final period after outscoring the Nets 27-15 in the third quarter.
Russell Westbrook scored 11 of his 26 points in the third period and Durant added nine of his team-high 27 points in the frame. OKC held Brooklyn to 6-for-18 shooting in the period and, for a moment, looked like it was headed for another fantastic finish after wrestling away the momentum.
“We turned it up defensively,” Collison said. “We had that extra juice that we needed on every screen action. It was a lot better. The problem is when you get down so much it is tough (to come back).”
Kevin Martin tied the score at 85-all on a 3-pointer off a feed from Westbrook with 7:11 left to play. But the Nets began working their way to the free throw line while the Thunder struggled to generate offense the rest of the way.
The offense grew stagnant after a questionable decision by Brooks to re-insert Kendrick Perkins. After the starting center returned in place of Thabo Sefolosha with 5:58 remaining, the Thunder scored just eight points the rest of the way — the same amount Lopez scored down the stretch despite Brooks subbing Perkins in to slow him down.
“I knew we needed to get some stops with Lopez,” Brooks said when asked why he brought back Perkins. “He had a good game on all of us tonight. It was just a matter of we win a lot of games with Perk and we decided to continue to go with how we win.”