After the shot clock expired Tuesday night, cementing another disappointing game for the Brooklyn Nets, coach Steve Nash he implored his players to look inward and wonder “what kind of team do they want to be.”
“I don’t think we go out every day of our lives and sacrifice time to be average at anything,” Kyrie Irving said after Brooklyn’s third straight loss. “And we look very average. And we have the talent that presents the vision test that we should be dominating.”
Brooklyn has developed a pattern this season of playing incredibly hard, and often beating, teams that are at the top of the rankings, but losing to the last few inhabitants of the league. In fact, with a 122-111 loss in Detroit on Tuesday, the Nets are now 7-11 against teams under .500, the most losses in the league.
Jerami Grant tied his career record with 32 points for the Pistons. Irving, who played with a crooked index finger, finished with 27 points and seven assists. James Harden added 24 points and 12 assists.
Brooklyn remains without Kevin Durant, who is on the NBA’s coronavirus contact tracing protocols until at least Friday after being exposed to a team employee who tested positive for COVID-19 last week.
Detroit took an early double-digit lead and controlled the game for nearly the full 48 minutes. During a timeout in the first quarter, Harden appeared to have a lively conversation with DeAndre Jordan about the team’s defensive effort. Over the course of the game, Nash knocked Jordan off the floor several times.
“I don’t think they were necessarily messing with him,” Nash said. “It’s an emotional sport. We meet in the hole and then we get a little excited.”
Jordan, who said he didn’t remember what Harden had said specifically, admitted he needed to improve overall defensively.
“I have to be better for us, defensively,” Jordan said. “We all have to be better. But I just take a little more control on that end of the ball because that’s something I love and a big part of the reason I think I’m there for us. I have to be better, but I take a lot of it. “
Since the Nets traded for James Harden in mid-January, they are last in defensive efficiency, according to ESPN Stats & Information. And while the Nets were able to reduce the Pistons’ lead to the single digits, they could never get over the hump.
“A lot of teams are very comfortable against us,” Irving said. “And that is something that you feel in the rest of the game, is that we are catching up and that is not the way to play as a competitor, always down.”
“We just have to turn that corner. And we haven’t done it yet, but we will. And I tell you the League will be on the alert when that happens.”