Coming into this weekend’s back-to-back the Brooklyn Nets found themselves in a premier position. Sitting alone atop of the NBA’s Eastern Conference playoff standings with their next two matchups being very winnable games against the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Clippers. Both teams are extremely undermanned.
With Kevin Durant and others returning from the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the chances of them extending their first-place lead in the Eastern Conference looked as good as ever. Unfortunately for the Nets, things did not go the way that they planned. Despite getting the majority of their roster back into their rotation the Nets dropped both games against the Sixers and Clippers.
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Kevin Durant Rips Nets Effort After Second Straight Loss
Over the past month, the Nets have looked as strong as ever with notable wins over the Los Angeles Lakers and Atlanta Hawks. Could it be that the news of Nets superstar Kyrie Irving’s return to the team has caused the Nets to let their guard down? Durant, a two-time Finals Most Valuable Player award winner, knows that the Nets have to approach every game with the same level of ferocity if they hope to be serious title contenders.
“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 per Brian Lewis of the “New York Post”.
The Clippers came into their matchup with the Nets knowing their dynamic duo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George would be unavailable. In addition, several key role players were out for the Clippers including Nicolas Batum and Marcus Morris. Durant feels that the Clippers’ depleted roster caused the Nets to take their foot off the gas pedal and they paid for it in a big way.
“It’s natural when a team is missing so many players, they’ve been going through so much over there, and we relaxed,” Durant continued. “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.”
James Harden Sounds off After Loss to Clippers
If there is one positive takeaway from the Nets’ current losing streak it has to be James Harden’s play as of late. Harden notched 34 points, 12 rebounds, and 13 assists in the Nets’ loss to the Clippers. “The Beard” has registered three 30-point triple-doubles in the Nets’ last four games after struggling out of the gate to start the season. Despite stuffing the stat sheet, Harden admits that losing is still frustrating.
“It’s a tough one. It’s frustrating. We just didn’t do the things to secure the win or do what we’re supposed to do,” Harden said after the loss to the Clippers per the “New York Post”.
“I don’t think we did that from the beginning of the game, and we give a team confidence and let them hang in the game for four quarters, and stuff like this happens.”
The Nets will have a chance to get back on track in their next game against the red-hot Memphis Grizzlies.