The Brooklyn Nets had a dismal performance against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday night as they fell, 129-116. They now have a record of 5-6 and are in 10th place in the Eastern Conference standings. In a rather unsuccessful outing, the Nets did have a silver lining: the return of their star forward Kevin Durant who had missed the team’s previous four games because of health and safety protocols.
Durant picked up right where he left off putting up a season-high 36 points to go along with 11 rebounds and four assists. Although it was in a losing effort Durant still had a history-making night.
Kevin Durant Continues To Be Elite
If it weren’t for Brooklyn’s 5-6 record, Durant might be sitting atop the rankings for the league’s Most Valuable Player Award. This season, Durant is averaging 29.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game. Sunday’s matchup against the Thunder was Durant’s sixth straight game in which he netted 25 points or more.
Since Christmas Day, Durant has dropped 29 points against the Boston Celtics, 29 against the Hornets, 33 and 28 against the Atlanta Hawks, and 28 against the Washington Wizards. Durant’s streak is the longest stretch of consecutive 25-point performances by a Nets player since Deron Williams in 2011-12, when the team was still in New Jersey.
Nash Was Unhappy With Nets’ Performance
Although Durant has been individually good the team still has work to do. At one point the Nets had a 15-point lead on the Thunder but dwindled it away with silly turnovers and bad defense.
Brooklyn’s head coach Steve Nash was not at all happy about the team’s effort on the night and he let reporters and the Nets players know how unacceptable Brooklyn’s performance was.
“You can get beat. You can have a hard time guarding someone. But I did not sense the pride,” Nash said to reporters over Zoom following Sunday’s loss. “I didn’t sense the competitive fire in the second half. I thought it was a lack of respect. We just got to learn from this and get better.”
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Nash at times has sounded like a broken record referencing how the team needs to take losses and learn from them. Looking at the product that Brooklyn continues to put on the floor it does not seem that much learning is taking place, just losing. As the team continues to try and improve, it needs to keep in mind that this is a shortened season and there is little room for error at this stage. They are on the outside looking in at a playoff spot if the season ended today.
Still No Timetable on Kyrie Return
While the Nets themselves will not make excuses for themselves, you have to wonder what the Nets record would be if Kyrie Irving had been available for these last three games.
According to Nash, the team still has no timetable on when Kyrie will return to the team from his personal leave. With the March 25 trade deadline fast approaching it may be time for the team to make a move.
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