The Nets’ current funk isn’t only one factor.
It’s all the pieces.
“You identify it,” coach Steve Nash admitted, as his struggling workforce ready to host the Spurs on Sunday. “We’ve actually struggled since getting back from all of the COVID interruptions. We had been having an excellent 12 months. We truly performed effectively by way of the COVID state of affairs. Since we’ve gotten everybody again roughly we simply haven’t had the boldness, the spirit, the enjoyment.
“And you may see it: Too many lapses and never sufficient tempo and enthusiasm. We’ve acquired to search out that. We’ve acquired to get that again after this interruption, and be a bunch that goes on the market and is tough to play in opposition to.”
The Nets have been all too simple to play in opposition to currently, placing up little resistance. Protection, rebounding, physicality, spacing, it’s all taken a success.
“It feels prefer it’s all the pieces, actually,” James Harden stated. “We will’t get stops constantly. Offensively, it’s a bit tough, our spacing isn’t nice most possessions. It’s a bit of all the pieces, and it feels prefer it’s all piling on one another.”
The Nets have dropped 4 of their final 5 video games, together with a 121-109 loss to the Bucks on Friday night.
“I imply, there’s a mess of [issues],” Kevin Durant stated. “Offensive rebounds, though I don’t suppose that damage us [Friday], that’s damage us over this little stretch, that’s been hurting us. Not staying in entrance of the ball, like giving up straight line drives, and groups come right here flattening 3s.”
The Nets have allowed at the very least 10 3-pointers and 110 factors in all 5 of these video games. They’ve didn’t run foes off the road. Whereas they’d overcome being shorthanded all season by remaking themselves as a defense-minded workforce, their “care degree” has taken a dip ever since their roster has gotten nearer to entire currently.
“I’d be a hell of a coach if I knew [why],” Nash stated. “We’ve acquired to get to work. We’ve acquired to search out the resolve, discovering the on a regular basis are available in and do the proper issues, spend money on the group and attempt to choose your teammates up. And if we might have that character the place we’ll do all the pieces we will individually and in addition choose our teammates up, we’ll get again to taking part in good basketball.”
The Nets had performed good, first-place basketball right through the vacations.
They had been perched atop the Eastern Conference with a 23-9 file on Dec. 29, a recreation forward of the Bulls and two away from the Bucks. They’d gotten there by guarding, with a defensive score that was fifth-best within the NBA (106.4).
However since then? Their defensive score of 119.2 is third-worst within the league. They usually have fallen 2 ½ video games behind the Bulls and right into a tie with the Bucks.
“Our physicality is the beginning of it. Being up into the ball, ensure our man feels us, that’s the start proper there. That’s the place it begins,” Harden stated. “After which as a possession, because the shot clock will get decrease and decrease, we’ve acquired a greater probability of locking in on the ball, whether or not it’s pick-and-roll or iso, and that offers a greater place at rebounding the basketball.”
A poor rebounding workforce even at their finest, the Nets relied on the league’s second-best field-goal protection (42.7 p.c) earlier than hitting their slide. They’ve been simply twentieth because the skid started.
“There’s a couple of widespread threads,” Nash stated. “We’re not into the ball. We’re not combative sufficient to start out video games. We’re not clear sufficient with our communication on the degree of the ball. There’s not sufficient of a presence. We will do higher in transition as effectively getting organized. It’s basic stuff that’s taken a dip since all of us acquired again collectively. We will see it clearly. We have now to work at it now. We have now to take it to coronary heart and now we have to rebuild.
“We’ve simply acquired to proceed to get again to the place we had been being much more bodily, much more decisive in actions and get that swagger again defensively.”