Golden State Warriors enjoy return to spotlight as Brooklyn Nets acknowledge they’re not there yet

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — After the Brooklyn Nets have been routed by the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday evening on their dwelling flooring, dropping 117-99 to fall to 0-4 this season in opposition to the Warriors, Miami Warmth, Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks, Nets coach Steve Nash stated his staff does not belong in the identical dialog as these groups but.

“Properly, I simply do not assume we’re in that class but,” Nash stated, after Brooklyn was blown out within the third quarter regardless of Stephen Curry sitting for almost all of it with foul hassle. “We received lots of work to do. We’re attempting to enhance as a gaggle, get higher and hopefully we are able to discover a solution to overcome a few of our deficiencies by the tip of the yr.”

The Nets, at 10-5, sit a recreation behind the East-leading Washington Wizards and a half-game behind the Bulls in second. However regardless of their file, and their star energy, Nash was disenchanted with the way in which his staff light within the second half in opposition to Golden State — simply because it did within the fourth quarter in Chicago final week.

In dealing with a Warriors staff that’s steeped in company data with the likes of coach Steve Kerr and stars Curry and Draymond Inexperienced — all of whom have been collectively for seven-plus seasons — the Nets repeatedly stated continuity is one thing they’ll should spend the season catching up on.

“We’re simply attempting to get higher each recreation,” Nets star James Harden stated after ending with 24 factors, 4 rebounds and 4 assists. “The purpose is to be the perfect staff on the finish of the season, within the postseason. That is the purpose. However most likely not [there yet]. We’re most likely nowhere close to. Nevertheless it’s an extended season for us to get higher, and we are going to proceed to get higher.”

Requested what it can take to get there, Harden talked about creating an id for how one can play at each ends — one thing the Warriors, at a league-leading 12-2 and starting to resemble the groups that received the 2015 NBA title and made the 2016 NBA Finals earlier than present Internet Kevin Durant arrived in Golden State, have clearly established.

“We now have to seek out our id,” Harden stated. “We’re nonetheless a brand-new staff, so we nonetheless have to seek out out what we’re good at, what we’re nice at, what we will be nice at, and it is gonna take an extended season. However we’re, what, 14, 15 video games in? So tonight’s recreation does not actually have an effect on us in any respect. I do not assume anyone is aware of themselves effectively. Perhaps the Warriors, as a result of they have been collectively for a very long time.”

That Golden State id definitely got here to the fore within the third quarter, when the Warriors — who’ve now outscored groups by a staggering 124 factors within the third throughout their 14 video games this season, by far probably the most within the NBA — turned up the warmth at each ends, whilst Curry sat with foul hassle. It was the avalanche that these Warriors would hit groups with after they have been at their finest, with Curry taking pictures from deep past the 3-point arc, Inexperienced wreaking havoc defensively and Golden State trying related at each ends of the courtroom in a means their opponents could not sustain with.

“Yeah, the way in which the gang energizes when Steph begins rising up from 30 toes — it is in every single place,” Kerr stated. “It occurred in Charlotte the opposite evening. It occurred tonight. So I feel the truth that our staff is nice once more and is taking part in effectively and has a great file provides to what Steph brings to the desk each evening, by way of his talent and showmanship. And in order that stuff — whenever you’re profitable and also you get the unimaginable show of talent from Steph, individuals are going to look at. It is enjoyable to be again within the highlight once more. Our staff is actually having fun with being again right here.”

The Nets appeared powerless to cease it — even Durant, who had an uncharacteristically poor taking pictures evening, scoring 19 factors on 6-for-19 taking pictures. Curry, however, was electrifying, ending with 37 factors on 12-for-19 taking pictures, together with going 9-for-14 from 3-point vary, eliciting “MVP” chants from the gang in Brooklyn. Curry admitted it was unusual to listen to that in an opposing constructing, which was notably pro-Warriors all through the sport.

“It was a mixture,” Durant stated in explaining his taking pictures woes, including his current bout with soreness in his proper (taking pictures) shoulder didn’t issue into his off evening. “They performed nice protection, they have lengthy defenders and guys that may assist, sending our bodies on a regular basis once I had the ball. That is what nice defenses do. And there is some pictures I want I might have again. I rushed it. As soon as we received down 18 or 20, I used to be attempting to get it again so quick and was taking unhealthy pictures and rushed pictures. It is all a part of the journey and understanding what degree you should be at each possession. This was an amazing check for us.”

It was additionally a check the Nets fell quick in. And, for a staff that was anticipated to be an offensive juggernaut this season — even whereas Kyrie Irving continues to be away from the staff after declining to get a COVID-19 vaccine — it was one other poor efficiency at that finish.

The Nets shot simply 39.1% from the sector and went 10-for-36 (27.8%) from 3-point vary. Whereas Brooklyn has far exceeded expectations defensively and is tied for ninth in defensive effectivity with the Boston Celtics after Tuesday’s loss, the truth that the Nets sit 18th in offensive effectivity is jarring.

Nash admitted a part of it’s a hangover from the absence of Irving, who he reiterated earlier than the sport he continues to remain in touch with, though they do not discuss basketball. In the meantime, he has to attempt to coax his staff within the path it needs to go because it continues to attempt to construct towards the kind of deep playoff run it expects to have — one which, primarily based off present type, might doubtlessly finish with them dealing with these identical Warriors within the NBA Finals.

“I feel the blokes have been nice so far as shopping for into what we wish to do defensively,” Nash stated. “Nobody would have picked us as a top-10 protection to begin the yr, and we’re defending, we’re discovering a means. I feel offensively we’ve all these totally different lineups, totally different backgrounds, types of play, 10 new gamers on our staff. It takes time.

“We began the yr with a continuity plan from final yr that received thrown out the window clearly when [Irving] did not come again, so we’re attempting to construct and determine it out. However we performed a extremely good protection. It actually checks you. And I feel tonight was an amazing lesson for us that we received to double down on a few of our ideas when the going will get robust.”

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