Kenny Atkinson has seen enough. The Brooklyn Nets head coach ripped his team’s defensive effort as they fell 134-133 in OT to the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday. The Nets recorded dropped to 1-2 on the season, with both of the losses coming in overtime.
“Just to sum it up, we could never get stops,” Atkinson told reporters after the loss. “I don’t know how many straight possessions they score. I never felt like we get the requisite stops to win this game.”
Memphis shot 48.5% from the field in the game and 42.4% from three-point range. Despite the poor defensive effort, Brooklyn still led 133-131 in the final seconds and had a chance to win, but Jae Crowder hit a three-pointer as the buzzer sounded, delivering the final blow.
“We can look at the end and say you know and say this and that but really we didn’t deserve to win the game,” Atkinson added.
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Atkinson Seeks Improvement
The Nets head coach made it very clear what adjustments he wants his team to make after the first week of the season.
“There were a lot of mental mistakes out there, especially the fouling, 14 free throws in the first quarter, you can’t do that, you can’t do that against any NBA team,” Atkinson said.
Through three games Brooklyn ranks 18th in the NBA allowing 27.0 free throws per game.
While the Nets defense is a work in progress, the offense has been impressive, averaging 125.0 points per game so far this season, second-most in the league.
“I think we have talented offensive players but are we going to figure out the defensive end,” Atkinson added.
Kyrie Continues to Shine
The star guard remains a bright spot for Brooklyn, putting together a near-flawless effort on offense in Sunday’s loss. Irving racked up 37 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, and two steals and is now averaging 37.7 points per game this season, second-most in the league behind Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young.
On opening night, Irving joined Micahel Jordan, Allen Iverson, and Wilt Chamberlain, as the only players to scored 50 points with no turnovers in NBA history. Kyrie dropped 50 with eight rebounds, seven assists, and zero turnovers in the 127-126 overtime loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Follow Jared Smith on Twitter: @jaredleesmith