The Brooklyn Nets Head Coach Steve Nash has won league two league MVPs, went to war with countless Hall of Famers, and will likely get inducted into the Hall of Fame his first time on the ballot. Still, coaching this Brooklyn Nets team may be the toughest task of his NBA career. The Nets fell to 5-6 after an ugly loss to a rebuilding Oklahoma City Thunder team by a score of 116-129. They are now in 10th place in the Eastern Conference.
The Nets’ Lack of Effort Led To Loss
Naturally, Nash was upset about the loss but what really fired him up was Brooklyn’s lack of effort on the night. He let everyone know about it. “You can get beat. You can have a hard time guarding someone. But I did not sense the pride,” Nash said to reporters over Zoom following Sunday’s loss. “I didn’t sense the competitive fire in the second half. I thought it was a lack of respect. We just got to learn from this and get better.”
Kevin Durant Went off in His Return
Nets’ forward Kevin Durant shined in his first game following his seven-day quarantine. Durant netted 36 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 assists in the loss. It is his sixth consecutive game with 25 points or more. Brooklyn led by as many as 15 points, but turnovers continue to be the downfall of this team as they gave the ball up to Oklahoma City 17 times. This left the door open for a young and scrappy Thunder team that may lack superstar talent, but are known for playing hard.
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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder with 31 points while Hamidou Diallo had 25 points off the bench. “I thought the second quarter was turnovers, unforced turnovers, kicking the ball all over the gym up 15. Lack of focus gets them right back in the game,” Nash told reporters. “Third quarter — I mean, 66 points in the paint tonight, 72 points in the second half. It is just pride. No matter what defense you are in, you got to sit down and guard someone.”
Defense Continues To Be Nets’ Downfall
Defense continues to be a problem for the Nets as it is their third straight game in which they have given up at least 100 points. They have given up as many as 145 points to an opponent this season (Atlanta Hawks). Although the Nets themselves have hit the century mark themselves for each time, they have given up 100 points to opponents, it has not been a winning formula. Scoring does not account for much when you, to quote Bradley Beal “can’t guard a parked car.” Kevin Durant has previously acknowledged Brooklyn’s defensive struggles. “We can’t rely on us just making shots,” Kevin Durant said to reporters on a recent Zoom call. “We’re going to have days where guys aren’t going to make shots, but we got to hang our hat on the defensive side of the ball.”