The Brooklyn Nets fell to the Miami Heat 106-93 on Wednesday night.
With their most recent defeat, Brooklyn is now 2-3 on the year.
Kevin Durant has been stellar. He put up 25 points and 11 rebounds against the Heat and so far on the year he is averaging 29.8 points on nearly 55 percent shooting from the field, as well as 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 steal and 1 block.
The Nets have a lot of problems – but Durant isn’t one of them. The biggest issue, clearly, is the team not having Kyrie Irving at their disposal. Durant offered a fairly blunt assessment of that situation this week.
Brooklyn’s second-biggest problem, however, has been James Harden. Against Miami he put up a mere 14 points on 4-of-12 shooting. To date, he has not scored over 20 points in any game this year. He has also scored 15 or fewer points in three straight games for the first time since the 2011-12 season. And it’s not like the opportunities aren’t there. The 32-year-old is getting good looks, he’s just not connecting on them.
On Wednesday night, Durant admitted that this was a problem.
“I like how we’re playing defense the last couple games,” he said. “I like where our defense is trending. I feel like we’re generating good shots. We’re just (not) knocking them down. If we continue to generate good shots we’ll put ourselves in good position.”
Although Durant didn’t specifically cite Harden there, he didn’t need to. The latter player shooting at a 34 percent clip speaks volumes about the situation at hand.
Harden, for his part, hears the criticism that has been directed his way.
“As much as I want to get back to just, you know, [scoring] 30’s and 40 points, I can’t do that [right now],” he said. “As much as I want to, obviously I would love to.”
According to Harden, as a result of his hamstring injury from last year, he couldn’t practice properly during the offseason. That means he’ll have to do it throughout the regular season.
“I had no opportunities to play pickup or nothing this summer,” Harden said. “Everything was rehab for three months, from a Grade 2 injury that happened three times in one season. So this is my fifth game of trying to just play with competition against somebody else. And as much as I want to rush the process and be back to hooping and killing, [have to] take your time.”
Devin Booker’s reaction to Kendall’s provocative Halloween costume. https://t.co/zVVOuYe4bM
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 28, 2021
At some point, preferably soon, Harden will work himself back into game shape. And when he does hopefully that will give Brooklyn the spark it needs to move forward.
Based on the footage that recently leaked out featuring Irving, it’s clear he has no intention to return any time soon. That means the onus as far as carrying the Nets will fall on Durant and Harden.
How will that ultimately turn out for them? Time will tell.