The Nets suffered a third consecutive loss on Tuesday, dropping a 122-111 decision to the last-place Pistons, prompting some self-reflection from star guard Kyrie Irving and head coach Steve Nash, among others. Irving said the team looked “very average,” as Malika Andrews of ESPN writes, while Nash said the club needed to improve its “competitive spirit,” per Brian Lewis of The New York Post.
The Nets responded on Wednesday with a 104-94 victory over Indiana — it was just the second time since acquiring James Harden on January 17 that Brooklyn had allowed fewer than 100 points in a game.
That game, which Brooklyn led by as many as 36 points, was an encouraging sign, but the Nets will need to string together more wins like it to show that they’re truly elite, says Mike Vaccaro of The New York Post. The team, which has a modest 15-12 overall record, has too often looked discombobulated and disinterested, according to Vaccaro.
Here’s more on the Nets:
- Although Kyrie Irving‘s injured right index finger only forced him to miss one game, he admitted that it bothered him in his return on Tuesday, as Brian Lewis writes for The New York Post. “It’s uncomfortable, but at the same time I don’t want to make any excuses,” Irving said. “I’m out there, put myself out there, do a lot of treatment on it and we’re down a few players obviously, as well, so you just want to go out there and compete and worry about the pain later.”
- Nets center DeAndre Jordan bounced back nicely after sideline clashes with James Harden and Steve Nash on Tuesday, Lewis notes in a separate story for The Post. “If I’m honest, it was an emotional night (Tuesday),” Nash said. “D.J. and I got upset at each other for a minute. I know D.J. got upset a few times during the game. So I’m proud of him because he bounced back with an incredible attitude, effort, performance.”
- Tim Bontemps of ESPN polled a handful of coaches, scouts, and executives from around the league on which Eastern teams are capable of reaching the NBA Finals and found that the Nets and Bucks are still considered the two frontrunners, despite the fact that the 76ers are currently the conference’s No. 1 seed.