When Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and the Brooklyn Nets began the season, there was much speculation on how far the Brooklyn Nets could go in the Eastern Conference with both stars coming off of major surgeries. In their first two games, the Nets looked nearly unstoppable with back-to-back blowouts of KD’s former team the Golden State Warriors, and Kyrie’s former team the Boston Celtics. Now sitting at a very pedestrian record of three wins and three losses the Nets look more like pretenders than contenders. The loss of their star guard Spencer Dinwiddie has played a role in their .500 start but, coming off of their worst loss of the season, some are wondering if other factors resulted in their New Year’s Day blowout.
Nets Players Were Not Hungover
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic last March nothing has been the same. However, New Year’s Eve in New York City is still New Year’s Eve in New York City. This prompted one New York Daily News reporter to ask Brooklyn Nets Head Coach Steve Nash if the Nets’ sluggish play on Friday had anything to do with players participating in any festivities on the previous evening. Nash’s response was hilarious. “I’m going to guess that this was the quietest New Year’s in NBA History,” Nash responded jokingly to Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News. “I’m not for one second going to blame it on that. We just weren’t good enough and we have a lot of work to do.”
Asked Steve Nash last night if any of his players brought the New Year in a little too hard pic.twitter.com/XJQxHd0CxK
— Kristian Winfield (@Krisplashed) January 2, 2021
The Nets indeed do have a lot of work to do if they plan on hoisting up the Larry O’Brien trophy in June. After a 2-0 start, the Nets have dropped three of their last four games. The most obvious factor that needs to be corrected is the defense. It has been bad, plain and simple and the Nets know it. “We can’t rely on us just making shots,” Kevin Durant said to reporters on a Zoom call after the loss. “Jeff Green said that in the locker room and I totally agreed. We’re going to have days where guys ain’t going to make shots, but we got to hang our hat on the defensive side of the ball.”
The Nets Defense Has Been Bad
The Nets gave up 114 points to the Hawks in Friday’s loss after allowing them to score a whopping 141 points in their previous game. Brooklyn is giving up an average of 111 points per game to their opponents this season. That is far from championship-level defense, and Head Coach Steve Nash knows it. “We looked at a lot of things from the first game. We didn’t improve on a lot of it,” Nash said to reporters following Friday’s loss. “I thought we gave up less offensive rebounds, but we hurt our defense with turnovers and they stretched us. We didn’t improve enough in the areas that we are weak in.”
Nash and company have a big test coming up as they take on Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night.