Brook Lopez finally returned to the court and helped the Brooklyn Nets destroy the injury riddled Oklahoma City Thunder, who were missing six players including Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, 116-85 during the home opener at the Barclays Center on Monday night.
Lopez actually sat out during most of the first half of the game due to foul trouble, but the Nets didn’t exactly need him as they jumped out to a 32-19 first quarter lead and never looked back. Lopez did eventually play for more than 23 minutes and finished with 18 points, six rebounds and two blocks.
Lopez’s 18 led the Nets, tied with Alan Anderson, who made 7-of-8 shots from the floor and was a perfect 4-for-4 from behind the arc. Deron Williams had 17 points and nine assists, Joe Johnson had 13 points, Bojan Bogdanovic had 12 and Mason Plumlee had 10 and eight rebounds.
HOW IT HAPPENED: A 13-point lead after the first quarter turned into a 22-point lead by the second and was as high as 35 points by the end of the game. Johnson led the team early and the Nets did a good job getting Bogdanovic involved too. Alan Anderson started to get hot in the second quarter and Lopez got involved by the third. There was hardly a point in the game where it looked like the Thunder had a remote chance at winning this game.
WHAT IT MEANS: Not much. It was a nice win, but it was just one game and against a team completely decimated by injuries. The Thunder’s bench is so thin right now that they were totally out of gas by the fourth quarter and it was everything they could do just to keep up with the Nets, who looked fresh and energized.
QUOTE OF THE GAME: “I can’t put it in words,” Lopez said. “It was great to be back out there. I’ve missed it for a long time and our team definitely took care of business tonight. Our guys make it easy.”
ODD MAN OUT: Andrei Kirilenko is healthy, but was not part of Lionel Hollins‘ rotation at all. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that AK47 played at all as he joined Sergey Karasev and Jorge Gutierrez as part of the mop-up crew.
UP NEXT: The Nets will hang around in Brooklyn for a little while. They face the Timberwolves on Wednesday and then host the Knicks on Friday night. The Orlando Magic come to town on Sunday.