BROOKLYN, NY – After the Brooklyn Nets were defeated by the Golden State Warriors Tuesday night on their home floor, losing 117-99 to fall to 0-4 this season against the Warriors, Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks, Net. coach Steve Nash said his team does not yet belong to the same conversation as those teams.
“Well, I just don’t think we’re still in that category,” Nash said, after Brooklyn was blown away in the third quarter despite Stephen Curry sitting for the majority of it with a bad problem. “We have a lot of work to do. We’re trying to get better as a group, get better and hopefully we can find a way to overcome some of our shortcomings by the end of the year.”
The Nets, at 10-5, sit a game behind the East-leading Washington Wizards and a half-game behind the Bulls in second. But despite their record, and their star power, Nash was disappointed with the way his team faded in the second half against Golden State – just as it did in the fourth quarter in Chicago last week.
Facing a Warriors team that is steeped in corporate knowledge with the likes of coach Steve Kerr and stars Curry and Draymond Green – all of whom have been together for more than seven seasons – the Nets have repeatedly said continuity is something they go for. having to spend the season getting there.
“We’re just trying to improve every game,” Nets star James Harden said after finishing with 24 points, four rebounds and four assists. “The goal is to be the best team at the end of the season, in the postseason. That’s the goal. But probably not [there yet]. We’re probably nowhere near that. But it’s a long season for us to get better, and we’ll keep getting better. “
Asked what it would take to get there, Harden talked about creating an identity for how to play at both ends – something the Warriors, at league-leading 12-2 and starting to look like the teams that won the 2015 NBA title and did. the 2016 NBA Finals before the current Net Kevin Durant arrived in Golden State, clearly established.
“We have to find our identity,” Harden said. “We’re still a whole new team, so we still have to figure out what we’re capable of, what we’re great at, what we can be great at, and it’s going to last a long season. But we’re, what, 14, 15 games in? So tonight’s game doesn’t affect us at all. I think no one knows each other well. Maybe the Warriors, because they’ve been together a long time. “
That Golden State identity certainly emerged in the third quarter, when the Warriors – who have now outscored teams by 124 points in the third through their 14 games this season, by far the most in the NBA – appeared. the heat at both ends, even when Curry was sitting with a bad problem. It was the avalanche with which these Warriors hit teams when they would be best, with Curry hitting bombs from deep beyond the 3-point arc, Green causing chaos defensively and Golden State looking tied at both ends of the court in his own way. opponents could not continue.
“Yeah, how the crowd gets excited when Steph starts to rise from 30 feet – it’s everywhere,” Kerr said. “It happened in Charlotte the other night. It happened tonight. So I think the fact that our team is good again and plays well and has a good record adds to what Steph brings to the table every night, according to his ability. and a show. And so that stuff – when you win and you get Steph’s incredible display of skill, people will watch. It’s fun to be back in the spotlight again. Our team really enjoys being back here. “
The Nets looked powerless to stop it – even Durant, who had an uncharacteristically bad shot, scored 19 points with a 6-for-19 shot. Curry, on the other hand, was electrified, finishing with 37 points on a 12-for-19 shooting, including going 9-for-14 from a 3-point range, eliciting “MVP” chants from the crowd in Brooklyn. Curry admitted it was strange to hear that in an opposing building, which was especially pro-military during the game.
“It was a combination,” Durant said explaining his shootings, adding that his recent attack with pain in his right (shooting) shoulder didn’t take into account his nightmare. “They’ve played a great defense, they have long defenders and guys who can help, sending bodies all the time I’ve had the ball. That makes great defenses. And there are a few shots I’d like to have back. I rushed it. After we went down 18 or 20, I tried to get it back so fast and made bad shots and quick shots. It’s all part of the journey and understanding what level you have to be at each possession. This was a great test for us. “
It was also a test that the Nets lacked. And, for a team that was expected to be an offensive loader this season – even while Kyrie Irving is still away from the team after a decline in receiving a COVID-19 vaccine – it was another bad performance at that end.
The Nets shot just 39.1 percent from the field and went 10-for-36 (27.8 percent) from a 3-point range. While Brooklyn has far exceeded expectations defensively and is tied for ninth in defensive performance with the Boston Celtics after Tuesday’s loss, the fact that the Nets sit 18th in offensive performance is critical.
Nash admitted that part of it is a hangover from Irving’s absence, which he repeated before the game he still stays in touch with, though they don’t talk about basketball. Meanwhile, he has to try to coax his team in the direction it wants to go, as it continues to try to build to the kind of deep final it hopes to have – one that, based on current form, might end up with them. facing those same Warriors in the NBA Finals.
“I think the guys were great at buying what we want to do defensively,” Nash said. “No one would have chosen us as a top 10 defense to start the year, and we defend, we find a way. I think offensively we have all these different lineups, different backgrounds, styles of play, 10 new players on our team. .It takes time.
“We started the year with a continuous plan from last year that was obviously thrown out the window [Irving] has not returned, so we are trying to build and figure it out. But we played a really good defense. It really tests you. And I think tonight was a great lesson for us, that we have to duplicate some of our principles when the going gets tough. “