The Oklahoma City Thunder may be realizing Kevin Durant(notes) isn’t the only star who can lead them to victories. The New Jersey Nets will be in a more difficult position with the loss of one of their top players.
Harris left New Jersey’s 111-100 loss to New York on Tuesday midway through the third quarter with a sprained left knee that will sideline him the next two games. Harris was hurt when teammate Kris Humphries(notes) fell on his knee.
Immediately following Harris’ departure, the Knicks reeled off a 14-2 run to put the game away. Brook Lopez(notes) scored 36 points and Farmar added 17, but coach Avery Johnson said the Nets (6-12) sorely missed their star.
“Oh man, a big game changer. Devin is a guy that we rely on heavily,” Johnson said. “On a lot of nights Devin’s been one of our top two players. It was tough to overcome it.”
Farmer draws the difficult task of trying to contain Westbrook.
The third-year guard is averaging 30.3 points and is shooting 51.6 percent from the field over his last three games, including a 25-point, 11-assist performance in Monday’s 95-89 win against New Orleans. Westbrook scored 12 during a 14-0 fourth-quarter run to help the Thunder pull away.
Durant finished with 26 points, but shot only 7 of 22 from the field.
“This is the new Russell,” Durant said. “He’s just taking over games and controlling the games. That’s what we need for us to win.”
Westbrook tallied a career-high 43 in Friday’s 110-106 overtime win against Indiana, helping the Thunder overcome another rough shooting night from Durant, who was 9 of 26 from the field.
“Sometimes when my teammates are down and not making shots, it’s an opportunity for me to be able to step up and help us win the game,” Westbrook said.
“I thought the fourth quarter was really critical how we came out and just played and played with everything we had knowing we had to leave it on the floor,” coach Scott Brooks told the team’s official website. “Defensively, we were surrounding the ball, we were blocking shots and we were getting rebounds. And that’s how you have to play.”
The Thunder have beaten the Nets in three straight, but New Jersey held Westbrook to 11 points and forced him to commit nine turnovers in a 104-102 victory on March 12 in Oklahoma City. Durant led all scorers with 32 points.