The Brooklyn Nets, whose roster is already paper-thin, were even more shorthanded on Saturday.
The Nets had to take on Joel Embiid and the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia 76ers without two of their stars as both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were ruled out of Saturday’s game. Brooklyn got blown out by Philadelphia despite another big night for James Harden.
Harden Is Counting on His Teammates To Step up More
“The Beard” nearly messed around and got a triple-double as he finished the night with 26 points, eight rebounds, and 10 assists. Harden has previously alluded to his stats being irrelevant if his team doesn’t get in the win column. He knows that there may be more games where all three of Brooklyn’s stars are not available and it will be up to the Nets reserves to take on a bigger role and help lead the team to victory.
“A lot of guys that don’t have a lot of opportunity got a lot of opportunity tonight,” Harden told reporters over Zoom via SNY. “It’s going to be that way for these next couple of games depending on when they allow KD to come back when Ky comes back so no excuses for us. Guys gotta step up and play big minutes and contribute. Obviously, we played against a really good Sixers team tonight but, get some rest and you know try to get some wins.”
James Harden's biggest takeaway from tonight:
"No excuses for us. Guys gotta step up and play big minutes and contribute" pic.twitter.com/M0ajPxnyUH
— Nets Videos (@SNYNets) February 7, 2021
Nash Says Kyrie Is Day-To-Day
Kyrie was a surprise name on the injury report for the Sixers game. Irving, who is fourth in the NBA in fourth-quarter points (7.6 per game), had just one made field goal in the final period of the game against the Raptors and it came in the waning moments. The reason for this could have been a sprained right index finger that Irving suffered on Friday.
Nets head coach Steve Nash says Irving is day-to-day and expects him to be back in the starting lineup on Tuesday when they take on the Detroit Pistons according to Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News.
Nash says Kyrie Irving is day-to-day and expects him to return on Tuesday. https://t.co/vIvMeh6Fg6
— Kristian Winfield (@Krisplashed) February 6, 2021
While Irving is expected to be available for the Nets’ next game, Durant will be out of Brooklyn’s lineup for an extended period of time. Durant came in contact with a Nets staffer who tested positive for the coronavirus which is why he was pulled off the court during the Raptors game according to Malika Andrews of ESPN.
As a result, sources told ESPN, it was decided that Durant needed to quarantine despite continuing to test negative. https://t.co/hOf9RBXCaz
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) February 6, 2021
Even though the Nets did get blown out by the Sixers, the bright spot is that their reserves showed that they do have some promise in them. Landry Shamet, who struggled mightily to start the season, has started to find the range as of late and was the Nets second-leading scorer on Saturday as he netted 22 points in the loss.
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot added 13 points of his own and Jeff Green had 10 points as well. The Nets showed they can generate offense from sources other than the usual suspects. They will need this type of effort from their reserves on a nightly basis as they will be without Durant until February 12.