The Brooklyn Nets came into Saturday night’s matchup with the Denver Nuggets, defeated, dismantled, and most importantly, in danger of falling out of the top two spots in the Eastern Conference. They came into the game tied in the loss column with the 3rd place Milwaukee Bucks.
The Nets were not themselves and it was clear in the first half that their three-game losing streak was having a carry-over effect into their matchup with the Nuggets. The Nets gave up 71 points in the first two quarters behind 17 big points from Nuggets rising star Michael Porter Jr. who because of his skillset has drawn comparisons to Nets All-Star Kevin Durant.
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Kevin Durant Sounds off on the Michael Porter Jr. Comparisons
Porter Jr. has quickly turned himself into an important player for the contending Nuggets in just his second full season with the team. On the year he is averaging 19.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 1.1. assists per game. With MPJ’s ability to shoot, dribble and dish the rock at his size it is easy to see why people have compared him to the ‘Slim Reaper.’ While Durant can appreciate his skill, he does not think Porter Jr’s game is comparable to his.
“Yeah, I mean Michael Porter has turned into his own player. I hear the comparisons between me and him, but he is a unique player who is going to carve his own lane out in the league,” Durant told reporters via SNY.
“The way he shoots the basketball, his length, athleticism, it’s a joy to watch and I’m looking forward to watching his career going forward. But I don’t think we have similar games I mean I appreciate what he brings and I’m sure he watched me when he was growing up too.”
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Steve Nash Applauds His Team’s Effort
The Nets had perhaps their best victory of the season against the Nuggets on Saturday. After trailing by as many as 21 points Brooklyn turned it on in the second half realizing that they could not afford to drop four straight games.
The team stormed back to win 125-119. led by the Nets All-Star duo of Kyrie Irving and Durant who combined for 64 points to snap a three-game losing streak against one of the best teams in the NBA. Brooklyn showed the fight that Nets head coach Steve Nash has been imploring his team to show all season. Even though the fight has come later than he would have liked it does not make him any less proud of his team’s effort.
“They just played hard as hell. They fought, scrapped, and a lot of things have to go right but when you play that hard, you cover up mistakes and give yourself an opportunity. It was kind of the tale of the game was those two halves,” Nash said of the comeback win via NetsDaily.
“The first half, there was a little bit of paralysis by analysis. There was a little bit of loss of composure and in the second half, just dug deep and fought. [I’m] really proud of the effort they put in and I think they proved something for themselves tonight.”
Despite the big win over Denver, the Nets still have a lot more work to do as the season ends and they are nursing an extremely narrow lead over Milwaukee for the second seed in the East. They lead the Bucks by just .5 games.