The Brooklyn Nets had a chance to start things on the right foot in their first game, which happened mere hours after it was announced that they had parted ways with embattled coach Steve Nash. In fact, they raced off to a 12-point lead in the third quarter, running hot off Kevin Durant, who had 20 points in the first half, including 14 in the opening period.
Unfortunately for KD, he had to watch best friend Kyrie Irving go scoreless in the first half and then miss 10 of 12 field goal attempts on the way to four points, six rebounds, seven assists and a block. That performance sealed their fate, nullifying Durant’s 32 points, nine rebounds, six assists, two blocks, and one steal. It was one of those games where everything went wrong in the second half.
The fourth quarter was especially painful for the Nets, because they were still in the game with a three-point lead when the final 12 minutes began. Unfortunately for them, Zach LaVine decided to crank up the heat and scored 20 of his 29 points in the final stanza. LaVine outscored the Nets 20-19 on his own, further adding to the embarrassment.
It also didn’t help the Nets that Ben Simmons sat out for a second game in a row with worries of another injury for him clouding their minds. They got precious little out of the rest of their supporting cast outside of Royce O’Neale, who finished with 20 points, five rebounds, three assists and steal.
Remember, the Nets almost blew a 24 point lead yesterday against the Pacers, who got to within four points with 3:38 left in that contest. That’s not a great sign for their defense, and they’ve got to figure out how to stop teams from clawing their way back. Kevin Durant will consistently score 30 or more points, but that’s not always going to be enough.
If Nash were a vindictive man, he’d probably have laughed after watching his former team falter when it mattered most. Sure, they might have had tired legs because of the back-to-back, but you can bet that Brooklyn’s two stars wanted to get that W today. Instead, they’ll be looking at getting a few days rest before playing again at 7am on Saturday (Manila time) against the Washington Wizards.
All I know is that I’m probably going to catch every Nets game moving forward, because the onus is now on KD and Kyrie to prove they were right about their Canadian ex-coach. They have a very small window to win a title, and they may not even have the right pieces to do it.
I’m probably not the only one that’s getting tickled by the whole situation, and I’m truly excited at the prospect of a blame game happening if the Nets continue to struggle – especially if they do actually bring Ime Udoka as their next Head Coach.