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Nic Claxton’s Steady Hand: A Key Factor in Nets’ Victory Over Thunder

For one evening, the Thunder’s “Hack-a-Clax” plan didn’t succeed. Nic Claxton, the Nets’ big man, wasn’t too bothered by the strategy, but he hoped he managed to fend it off. This was the second time in a week that the Thunder deliberately fouled Claxton, aiming to take advantage of his struggles at the free-throw line.

During this game, Claxton was better prepared, making 7 out of 10 free throws, contributing to the Nets’ victory at Barclays Center. In the fourth quarter, as the game tightened, the Thunder fouled Claxton twice within the final four minutes. The first time, he missed both shots, but luckily, Mikal Bridges grabbed the rebound, keeping the ball in Nets’ possession. With 1:33 remaining, despite the Thunder’s attempts to disrupt, Claxton sank both free throws.

Claxton commented afterward, suggesting the Thunder should try a different tactic next time as their fouling strategy didn’t work that night. He highlighted his 7-for-10 performance as evidence of his improvement at the free-throw line.

Nic Claxton's Steady Hand: A Key Factor in Nets' Victory Over Thunder

Nic Claxton, the Nets’ big man, wasn’t too bothered by the strategy

Last Sunday, the Thunder’s strategy had been more effective, contributing to their win over the Nets in Oklahoma City. During that game, Claxton went 5-for-10 from the line. Claxton has historically struggled with free throws, notably missing 10 in a row during a crucial game against the Celtics in the 2022 postseason.

However, this season, Claxton has shown improvement, boasting a career-best free-throw percentage of 60%. He remains committed to his progress, aiming to continue enhancing his performance from the line.

Following the win against the Thunder, the Nets received some good news regarding player injuries. Both Cam Johnson, who experienced hamstring issues, and Cam Thomas, who appeared to roll his ankle, are not listed on the injury report ahead of their next game against the Trail Blazers.

However, Ben Simmons remains sidelined due to a lower back nerve impingement, missing his 30th consecutive game. The Nets waived guard Armoni Brooks, who appeared in 10 games this season, averaging 4.2 points and 1.8 rebounds per game.

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