When 2018 NBA Most Valuable Player James Harden took the court for the Brooklyn Nets for the first time last week, it looked like they were going to be the NBA’s team to beat. The Beard and Kevin Durant were cooking and most thought they were just scratching the surface as they were awaiting the resurgence of six-time all-star Kyrie Irving. Things have not exactly gone to plan.
Kyrie Is Not Hitting the Panic Button
Since Kyrie has rejoined the starting lineup the Nets are 0-2. To make matters worse they have lost back-to-back games to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the worst offensive team in the NBA. Despite the cold start, Kyrie and the rest of the Nets are not panicking. He and his teammates know that the best is yet to come. “We will be on that stage,” Kyrie said via his Instagram page. “The stage where the best of the best meet. You know the main stage.” The stage Kyrie is likely referring to is the NBA Finals where many people expect them to be this June. “Where those who can do. And those who cannot talk about those that are doing. If you are rolling with us, great, let’s rock. If you are not, you know you want to talk about our greatness anyway!”
The Nets have shown that their offense will not be what prevents them from winning a championship, their defense is clearly their weakest link. They gave up 100 plus points in back-to-back games to the league’s worst offense. Brooklyn’s head coach Steve Nash has addressed this in the past and it continues to be a problem for the Nets.
It’s Time for the Nets To Address Their Defensive Struggles
“I think we’re last in the league in 50-50 balls, contested shots, hustle plays,” Nash said over Zoom to reporters following Friday’s loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. “We just got to find a way to play harder, dig deeper. We are not a defensive roster. We must take more pride in it, and we must win more 50-50’s, contest more shots, fight, scrap, claw — that’s what I think is missing as much as anything schematic that we’re breaking down.”
The Nets were outrebounded by the Cavaliers 29-50 during Friday’s loss. The effects of the loss of their big man Jarrett Allen via the James Harden Trade were on full display. Jarrett is one of the newest members of the Cleveland Cavaliers and had a revenge game against his former team on Friday night scoring 19 points in 19 minutes.
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Although KD did not play in last night’s loss to the Cavs it was no excuse for the team’s performance. The team, as talented as they are clearly have some holes that need to be addressed, starting with the defense and rebounding. KD will return to the floor on Saturday when the Nets take on the Miami Heat, hopefully giving the team the burst of energy that they need.