Even a team known as star-studded because the net requires structure, and guidance. And the occasional kick in derivation.
The Nets met Steve Nash a few weeks ago, and have been the hottest team in the NBA so far. And they rolled to their latest hunt, Magic, 129–92 Thursday night at the Barclays Center for their eighth consecutive win.
The NBA has the longest winning streak this year and the Nets are the longest after taking 14 straight from March 12 – April 6, 2006. Most of this run has come without superstar Kevin Durant, who is out with a hamstring injury, and the way the Nets are playing, it’s not impossible to imagine that they could challenge that mark.
The Nets (22–12) outscored the Magic 41–19 in the second quarter, and led by 40 points, hovering for laughter. He kept pace with the 76ers, trailing Philadelphia by just one half game for first place in the Eastern Conference.
Kairi Irving (27 points, nine assists) and James Harden (20 points, nine rebounds, seven assists) were right in the heart of the win. But it was a comprehensive team performance, with the Nets’ balance turning it into a boundary from victory.
The Nets put six scorers in double figures, including Landry Shamet’s 19. He shot 53.3 percent from the field and held the Magic to 40.2 percent overall and 9-for-36 from 3-point range. Apart from Nikola Vusevic, who had 28 points, Orlando posed no threat.
The Nets actually trailed 28-18 with 1:19 remaining in the first quarter after a pair of Terrence Ross free throws, but two quick strikes put the game away.
First, the Nets went on a 14–3 run that spanned the first and second quarters, Harden leading 32–31 on a pull-up 3-pointer. A further bounce in the quarters made it far beyond Magic (13-20).
With a three-point pillow with 4:32 remaining in the half, the Nets went on a 19–3 run. When Irving found Bruce Brown for a running layup, the score reached 65–45 before the break.
The Nets led 26 in the third quarter and 40 in the fourth. He handed Tyler Cook his net debut, while Nick Claxton had 10 points and a career-high four 15-minute stints, his second appearance of the season.
This has been a surprising change since February 9, when the Nets were a disappointing 14–12 following a humbling loss in Detroit. He had shown a lack of attention in a host of harrowing losses against losing the enemy. But they have since retaliated, partly crediting Nash’s tough love.
Irving said, “Preparation is where it starts: walk-throughs, being able to do small things, memorizing details and playing your game with just a structure there.” “We need structure. NBA players, entertainers, whoever we are, we need structure to succeed at the highest level.
“That’s why you see that the best teams have coaches who are coaches [crap] Of the players, and the people who go there and do it. So we just want to be able to be consistent. “
After that there was embarrassment on 9 February, even the excited Nash panicked. He not only spoke harsh words for his players, but did some extra work after that defeat.
“It was a back-to-back, we came home, we’re playing a very dangerous Indiana team, and put it on the line for them before the game, which is not the norm in the regular season,” Nash said. “You don’t necessarily want to bring a negative learning clip before the game. But we didn’t have shootawards back-to-back along the journey, so I thought we couldn’t afford the opportunity to keep up better.
“It started there. I don’t want to say that went after them, but we were very constructive with our criticism of what needed to be improved. This is where it started. We started adding in shootwear, which – because of COVID and a condensed schedule – we tried to get away to start, just not too much waterlogging for people.
“Now we are doing shootars, touching something else, to be more important with our growth in a creative and positive way. I don’t know if we are giving them any hard coaching, but we are definitely trying to chase and make sure we are pointing and correcting and addressing issues. “