After missing seven straight games for personal reasons, Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving returned to the lineup on Jan. 20 against the Cleveland Cavaliers. It was the first game Irving played with James Harden and Kevin Durant next to him at the same time.
In the two games he played in since coming back, Irving averaged 37.5 points and 4.0 assists while shooting 55.8% from the field and 41.2% from beyond the arc. However, the Nets lost both contests to the Cavs in Cleveland.
Since Brooklyn didn’t look good against the Cavs, particularly on the defensive end, a few Nets fans are already jumping off the bandwagon. Kyrie Irving, sensing that some supporters of the team are concerned, sent a message to Nets nation.
The Nets lost to the Cavs by 12 points in back-to-back games
In Kyrie Irving’s return to the lineup on Jan. 20, the Nets lost to the Cavs in double overtime. Despite getting 96 combined points from Uncle Drew, Kevin Durant, and James Harden, Brooklyn lost to Cleveland by a final score of 147-135.
The Nets had zero answers for Cavs point guard Collin Sexton, who dropped 42 points on Brooklyn. Cleveland had seven players score in double-figures and outscored the Nets 20-8 in the second overtime to take home the win.
In the second game on Jan. 22, the Cavs won 125-113. Durant didn’t play, as the Nets gave him the night off. Irving and Harden combined for 57 points, but Brooklyn couldn’t stop Cleveland on the defensive end of the floor once again. The Nets lost three of their top defenders in Jarrett Allen, Caris LeVert, and Taurean Prince in the Harden trade.
Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and James Harden will be able to score with ease for the rest of the season. However, if the Nets can’t stop anyone on defense, it doesn’t matter how explosive Brooklyn is on offense.
Kyrie Irving assures the Nets will be fine
Kyrie Irving posted a long message on social media after the Nets’ two losses to the Cavs. The six-time All-Star not only assured that the team is going to be fine, but he also talked about how the people who are jumping off the bandwagon will still follow the club and jump back on for the ride once the wins start piling up again.
The Nets dropped to 9-8 after losing two straight games to the Cavs. The team is second in the NBA in scoring but has the third-worst defense. Brooklyn has to address its defensive woes before the playoffs start. Otherwise, the Nets are going to flame out.
Since the Cavs have so many centers on the roster, some pundits believe Brooklyn should trade for Andre Drummond or JaVale McGee. The Nets, though, don’t have assets to move after giving up so much to acquire Harden.
Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and James Harden are three of the most polarizing players in the NBA. As a result, fans outside of Brooklyn are rooting for the Nets’ Big 3 to fail.
Steve Nash says the team needs to play harder on defense
Nets head coach Steve Nash says the Nets need to play harder on defense following their two consecutive losses to the Cavs. Brooklyn gave up 134 total points in the paint in their two losses to Cleveland.
“We just need to find a way to play harder,” Nash said, via ESPN. “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.”