The Brooklyn Nets lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers 125-112 on Friday night. Given the fact that they had already been defeated by Collin Sexton and Co. once this week, it was a disappointing blow for a group that everyone expected a lot from after the James Harden trade.
During Friday’s postgame session with the media, Kyrie Irving got brutally honest about the back-to-back L’s Cleveland hung on Brooklyn.
“This was two humbling losses,” Irving said.
The same problem that hobbled the Nets prior to the Harden acquisition continues to hang over the team now. It’s not about scoring. They can score with the best of them. The issue is defense.
After giving up 64 points in the paint to Cleveland on Wednesday, they gave up 70 points on Friday.
Harden acknowledged that this was a problem after the second loss.
“That’s a lot of points in the paint,” Harden said.
“Offensive rebounds happen, layups happen, good things doesn’t happen when the ball gets in the paint, and tonight we allowed that too much.”
Earlier this week, Steve Nash suggested that the Nets had a big problem that needed to be addressed. One that concerned him greatly. He reiterated that point following his team’s second consecutive loss at the hands of the Cavaliers.
“We just need to find a way to play harder,” Nash said. “Dig deeper. We are not a defensive roster. We have to take more pride, contest more shots, fight, scrap, claw, and that’s what I think is missing as much as anything schematic that we’re breaking down.”
The Nets feel like a team that has too much talent to keep losing. That said, sometimes superstar talents combine to be less than the sum of their parts. Harden, wacky clothing options notwithstanding, has a very particular skill set. So does Irving, when he’s not too engrossed with off-the-court matters. So does Durant.
It’s easy to see why McKayla Maroney’s newest video went viral. https://t.co/PtbWaRdjal
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 21, 2021
The assumption was that they would be able to come together to succeed – but maybe that was a reach. One way or another, the true answer will emerge in the coming days and weeks.