Few Clouds 33° Good Morning
Few Clouds 33° Good Morning

Nets welcome another top scorer in Thunder's Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant yells encouragement from the bench during

Kevin Durant yells encouragement from the bench during a game against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center. (Nov. 8, 2012) Photo Credit: Getty

First Kobe. Then LeBron. Don't forget Carmelo.

Now, here comes Kevin.

Seems like the Nets (11-5) have witnessed a parade of scorers lately and Tuesday night won't be any different with Kevin Durant leading the Oklahoma City Thunder (14-4) into Barclays Center. Durant has league-leading 471 points through 18 game and Gerald Wallace knows there's only so much you can do against those elite players.

Still, the Nets' swingman, who should see some time guarding Durant, relishes the challenge.

"It's perfect because you know you want to make the guys work," Wallace said Monday. "You don't want them to come out and let them have an easy night where they can just go off and everything seems easy for them. I'm not expecting to go out there and stop them from scoring 30, 40 points.

"When I look up at the scoreboard and he has 30 or 40 points, I want him to feel like he's working for those 30 or 40 points. You have to earn those 30 or 40 points."

Not to mention attacking him when the Nets have the ball. Wallace has been aggressive with his shot of late -- he drained five three-pointers in their win in Orlando on Friday -- and that could continue with Durant staring back at him on defense.

"A lot of the top scorers, they go rest on the defensive end," Wallace said, "and spend all their energy on the offensive end. So our main thing is making him play both ends of the court."

The Nets are only 1-3 in their four games against the league's current top four scorers, beating Anthony's Knicks. But Avery Johnson also points to the way they didn't let LeBron James go too crazy Saturday, though he did finish with 26 points after being "held" to 10 in the first half.

"It's not going to happen unless we take care of the ball," the Nets coach said. "As much as I talk about the defensive rating, it's our offense, also. If we can take care of the ball and get our defense set, we can be a pretty good defensive team."

Durant and Russell Westbrook, whose 20.7 points a game ranks sixth, are sure to provide them with another stiff test.

"Russ is just tough to guard," Deron Williams said. "Keeping him out of the paint is a tough task. It's got to be a team effort. We have to pay attention to both of those guys, especially in transition. Russ attacks the basket relentlessly in transition, and we have to do a good job of getting back and trying to contain him."

Notes & quotes: Brook Lopez (right foot ligament sprain) was re-evaluated and results of a precautionary MRI came back negative, according to the team. He's listed as day-to-day . . . Johnson was named the Eastern Conference coach of the month.

New York Sports