Graham enjoying role as Nets’ defensive stopper

OKLAHOMA CITY – As the Nets take their mighty 3-13 road record against the Thunder (11-6 at home) here Wednesday night, there were some interesting tidbits from the morning workout.

For example: Avery Johnson compared Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant favorably to a more athletic George Gervin; Stephen Graham has filled in admirably as a defensive stopper; Jordan Farmar is at his best when the shot clock is winding down; Brook Lopez would have benefited enormously from the Team USA experience which he had to abandon last summer because of his recovery from mononucleosis.

So there.

Durant is “a terrific player. It’s kind of like you’re watching George Gervin with a little bit more athleticism. He’s long, finger rolls, can hit three-point shots from anywhere on the floor at any time,” Johnson said.

Graham got a call over the summer about being the Nets’ defensive guy.

“That was the phone call I got: ‘we’re bringing you in to put you on the best player on other teams.’ I took that as a personal challenge and I like doing that,” Graham said.

Offered Johnson, “He’s really picked it up and done a nice job for us…One guy at the two or three spot that they can stick on team’s best perimeter player, that’s what the really good teams have.”

Of Farmar, Johnson offered, “When he’s in 9-1-1 situations, and it’ one second on the shot clock or two, boy, he seems to make all of those.”

So figured even with 20 seconds on the shot clock, the bench will be yelling, “four, three, two…” out to Farmar.

Whether it was Durant or Russell Westbrook here or Eric Gordon with the Clippers, Johnson has stressed how much of a benefit playing for the gold medal-winning Team USA benefited some of the league’s young stars. Lopez was supposed to be in that mix.

“It would have helped a lot, no question,” said the Nets center, who was forced to withdraw in a weakened state as he recovered from mono.

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Through 31 games, the Nets have had five games where they scored at least 20 points in every quarter. They won just two.

The Nets have had six games where they failed to shoot 40 percent. They lost all six. They’ve had four games where they shot 50 percent. They won all four. There have been seven games where the opponent shot 50 percent. The Nets lost all seven. There have been five games where the opponent failed to shoot 40 percent. The Nets won four, lost one. The only exception was Charlotte shooting .360 and beating the .319-shooting Nets.