Brooklyn Nets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Pick & Prediction JANUARY 5th 2024

Coming off an exhilarating victory against the league-best Boston Celtics, the Oklahoma City Thunder appeared fatigued but nearly forced overtime to give themselves a chance at another win in Atlanta.

Two nights after their five-game winning streak ended, the Thunder attempt to start another run Friday when they visit the struggling Brooklyn Nets.

Oklahoma City is attempting to avoid losing consecutive games for the third time this season.

The Thunder last took consecutive losses Nov. 25-28 — by a combined seven points — to the Philadelphia 76ers and Minnesota Timberwolves.

Since those consecutive defeats, Oklahoma City is 12-4 and has scored at least 120 points 12 times, including the 127-123 win Tuesday over Boston.

Playing the second night of a back-to-back, the Thunder started a four-game trip Wednesday with a 141-138 loss to the Atlanta Hawks. Oklahoma City trailed by as many as 21 and nearly erased a 15-point deficit in the final 2:27 before Isaiah Joe missed a tying 3-pointer at the horn.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 24 of his 33 points after halftime. He had 36 against Boston.

Gilgeous-Alexander scored at least 30 for the 24th time and the Thunder dropped to 17-7 in those games.

“We didn’t have our best night, obviously, but I thought we stuck together and stayed in it,” Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said. “We kind of played on their terms tonight. They outplayed us tonight.”

The Thunder were able to rally late by shooting 67.4 percent in the second half. Oklahoma City finished at 54.9 percent overall but were dominated in the first half by allowing 39 points in the first quarter and 76 by halftime.

The Nets return home after a disastrous four-game trip that pushed their losing streak to five games.

The skid started with a 144-122 home loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Dec. 27.

In that game, the Nets rested Spencer Dinwiddie and Nic Claxton and did not play Mikal Bridges, Cam Thomas and Royce O’Neale after the opening quarter. That decision earned them a $100,000 fine from the NBA on Thursday for violating the league’s Player Participation Policy.

The Nets are on their second five-game losing streak of the season. Brooklyn also lost five straight Dec. 14-22 before struggling to attain consecutive wins over the Detroit Pistons by a combined 17 points.

Seven of Brooklyn’s past 10 losses were by double-digits, including a 112-101 loss Wednesday to the Houston Rockets. Brooklyn allowed 19 3-pointers in Houston, and opponents are shooting 45.5 percent (91-of-200) from behind the arc in the past five games.

Brooklyn was significantly more competitive than during Tuesday’s 112-85 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, when it trailed by as many as 32. In Houston, the Nets held a five-point lead early in the third but gave up a 15-1 run and trailed by 18 in the fourth.

“All we need is one game to turn (it around),” O’Neale said. “Everybody hates losing, so once we find it and get our groove back, we’ll get back rolling. Just staying together and being the team we have to be.”

Besides trying to sustain the same energy from the opening tip, the Nets are hoping to see better showings from their top two scorers.

Bridges was held to 15 points Wednesday and is shooting 37.1 percent in his past 10. Thomas was held to four points on 0-of-7 shooting Wednesday and went 0-for-18 in the final two games of the trip.

The teams are meeting for the second time in a week. The Thunder claimed a 124-108 win Sunday and are 9-2 in the past 11 meetings.

–Field Level Media

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