The Brooklyn Nets fell in double overtime to the Cleveland Cavaliers 147-135 on Wednesday night. Although Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving all had big nights, it wasn’t enough to overcome Collin Sexton’s 42-point explosion.
After the outing, Durant spoke with the media and was asked for his thoughts on the Nets going forward.
“It felt right,” he responded.
“It felt perfect. It felt like we belong together. It felt like this journey together is going to be fun. Tough first start … it was an up and down game for us. But I like where we are.”
Brooklyn acquired Harden in a multi-team trade last week. At the time, Irving was sitting out for personal reasons, so for a brief stretch the Nets were reduced to a two-man show. Harden showed up in his nicest dress, and together he and Durant led the team to two straight victories.
Irving returned from a seven-game absence on Wednesday. Obviously the end result is not what he or his teammates wanted, but learning to play with one another will be a slow process. No super team ever came together and played well overnight, and the Nets are no exception.
Yikes. It’s a wrap for Jackie MacMullan.https://t.co/lIFTuBiJtc
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 14, 2021
Between Durant’s 38 points, Irving’s 37 points and Harden’s 21 points, 71 percent of Brooklyn’s 135 points came from just those three guys. Normally, 135 points is enough to secure a victory – but not when you give up 147 to the other side.
Therein lays the issue that Steve Nash and Co. will need to figure out. The Nets have one glaring weakness, and neither the addition of Harden nor Irving’s reunion with his ball club will plug that hole.
The onus is on the coaching staff to figure out how to fix the problem, and if they don’t, the Nets will have a tough time competing with the NBA’s truly elite ballclubs.