Sports

Short-handed Nets beat Thunder 100-95 in Mexico City

Basketball fans watch the second half of a regular-season NBA basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and Oklahoma City Thunder in Mexico City, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. The Brooklyn Nets will also take on the Miami Heat Saturday in their second regular-season game in the Mexican capital. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Basketball fans watch the second half of a regular-season NBA basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and Oklahoma City Thunder in Mexico City, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. The Brooklyn Nets will also take on the Miami Heat Saturday in their second regular-season game in the Mexican capital. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

MEXICO CITY — Playing short-handed because of injuries and a trade, the Brooklyn Nets found a way to hold off Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder.

It was a nice little start to their stay in Mexico.

Caris Levert scored 21 points, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had 17 and Brooklyn overcame another strong performance by Westbrook to beat Oklahoma City 100-95 on Thursday night in the first of the Nets' two games in Mexico City.

Westbrook had 31 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

The Nets played without guards Jeremy Lin and D'Angelo Russell because of injuries. They also traded power forward Trevor Booker to Philadelphia before the game.

"Sometimes when you have injuries you discover new things and that*s what*s happening to us," said Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson, who praised his team for playing hard after the trade. "I spoke to everybody individually, I felt it was important, we told them why we made the trade and why it*s good for the future and they understood."

Allen Crabbe had 15 points for Brooklyn, which won for the third time in four games. The Nets will play the Miami Heat on Saturday at Arena Ciudad de Mexico.

The Thunder had won three in a row.

"For most of the first half we played good but we did not come out great in the second half," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. "I think the difference was that they went downhill into the basket and we weren*t able to go downfield enough."

Donovan said Mexico City*s altitude did not play a role in the team*s fourth-quarter performance, when it managed just 16 points.

Steven Adams scored 12 points for the Thunder, and Carmelo Anthony had 11 on 5-for-20 shooting. Oklahoma City played without Paul George (right calf contusion) and Jerami Grant (left hip contusion).

Westbrook made a foul shot to give Oklahoma City an 85-84 lead with 7:38 left. But Crabbe, Hollis-Jefferson and Spencer Dinwiddie each made a 3-pointer to help Brooklyn grab a 93-85 advantage with 5:38 left. LeVert added four foul shots in the final 19 seconds.

TIP-INS

Thunder: Shot 38.8 per cent (38 for 98) from the field and 12 for 24 at the free-throw line.

Nets: Quincy Acy and Tyler Zeller each scored 11 points. ... The Nets will play in three countries in the first half of December. They split two games against Atlanta before their trip to Mexico City. They visit Toronto on Dec. 15.

GETTING BETTER

Brooklyn improved to 10-14. The Nets didn't get their 10th win last season until March 1.

"I feel that every game we are getting more comfortable within the roster," Atkinson said. "We are in a good place a little over a year into this."

UP NEXT

Nets: Play against Miami on Saturday at Mexico City.

Thunder: Host Memphis on Saturday.

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