New year, same Nets?
The Brooklyn Nets continued a worrying pattern of failing to beat a contending NBA team with their 121-109 loss to Milwaukee at the Barclays Center on Friday night. The Nets, who trailed by as much as 24 at one stage, now drop to 0-8 on the season against top teams.
Brooklyn has now lost five consecutive games at the Barclays Center, and four of their last five altogether. Their last home win came against the Sixers on December 16.
“I don’t expect us to have a great home-court advantage if we’re playing s—ty basketball,” said Kevin Durant post-game.
If the Nets want to compete for a championship then they’re going to have to start winning some of these games against other championship-contending sides. After the loss against Milwaukee, which wasn’t as close as the score may indicate, second-year head coach Steve Nash was asked what intangibles have been missing this season.
“You name it,” he said.
What is most concerning for the Nets is, of the games played against ‘top-tier competition’ they’ve lost six of the eight by double-digit figures, and one of the losses in single-digits (Phoenix) they were down by as much as 22 before making a late run when the game was essentially over.
The losses include two against Chicago, and now two against Milwaukee.
Brooklyn’s margin of defeat in their 8 games vs. the other top-8 teams…
@ MIL: -23
vs. MIA: -13
@ CHI: -23
vs. GSW: -18
vs. PHX: -6 (trailed by 22 in 4th, late run)
vs. CHI: -4
vs. MEM: -14
vs. MIL: -12 (wasn’t that close)
— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) January 8, 2022
Durant finished with 29 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, but James Harden had a rough shooting night, finishing with just 16 points (6-of-15 from the field), nine rebounds and seven assists.
Harden, whom the Nets will need to produce to help compensate for Kyrie Irving’s part-time status, has an effective field goal percentage of just 40.7% against the best teams.
The Nets need some answers to these questions soon.
What was once a clear-cut favorite team to win the East has now dropped to third in the Conference, just one game ahead of Miami in fourth. Brooklyn has a home game against the Spurs on Sunday, before traveling to Portland.
Their first chance to play one of the top eight with Kyrie Irving will be next Wednesday in Chicago. Nothing short of an impressive win will do.