During the absence of their All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving who missed the first 35 games of the season, the Brooklyn Nets could not rely solely on their offense to win basketball games. So, Brooklyn did what nobody expected them to do coming into the 2022 NBA season. They turned up their energy on the defensive side of the ball. The Nets are currently tied with the Miami Heat for 7th place in the NBA’s overall defensive ratings.
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James Harden Calls Out Nets for Lackluster Defense
While the Nets are still in the top 10 in defensive rating, their energy on defense has slipped recently. In the past two weeks alone, Brooklyn gave up 71 points in the second half in their matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers and then gave up 73 points in the first half to the Indiana Pacers. Nets star James Harden knows that it is a trend that cannot continue if the team hopes to be a legit title contender.
“We gotta go out there and just do it. It’s pretty easy. And do it consistently,” Harden said after the Nets loss to the Clippers per Zach Braziller of the New York Post.
“Second, third efforts, having each other’s back. Somebody comes over and helps, the next man helps that person and just be on a string. It hasn’t been that way. We’ve let teams come in here and do what they want, get any shot that they want, and they’re capitalizing.”
Kevin Durant Unloads on Nets Effort After Loss to Clippers
In addition to their lackluster defense, the Nets looked way too lax overall during their recent three-game losing streak. There was no sight of that underdog mentality the team adopted when they knew they were going to be without Kyrie. This has been particularly evident when they have played undermanned teams. Nets star Kevin Durant knows that effort is something he and his teammates need to bring on a nightly basis.
“Like Coach [Steve Nash] said, we didn’t deserve to win this game. We came in here with an f***** up attitude to start, thinking we were just going to walk into a W. Hopefully, a loss like this sits in your brain until tomorrow. … If you ain’t feeling like s–t after this game, you gotta look yourself in the mirror” Durant said after the Nets loss to the Clippers per Brian Lewis of the “New York Post”.
“It’s natural when a team is missing so many players, they’ve been going through so much over there, and we relaxed. You wouldn’t think you could lose an NBA game like this. Missing how many guys, playing guys up from the G-League. … They all made an impact, I felt, and we came in too chill.”
There is no denying the plethora of talent the Nets have on their roster, but as it has been proven time and again, talent alone will not guarantee a championship. Thankfully for the Nets, Kyrie is back part-time but they still have a lot more loose ends to tie up if they want to be NBA champions at the end of this season. Their next test will be on Friday against the Milwaukee Bucks.