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Nets fall to Pacers in crushing loss, 125-116

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Indiana Pacers v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The Brooklyn Nets lost to the Indiana Pacers, 125-116, on Saturday night ... and It’s all bad right now.

The night started with Steve Nash holding yet another press conference speaking about, well, not basketball. (We’ve got that story here.) Towards the end of that presser, though, media members sensed that Nash had addressed all he was going to address on Kyrie Irving.

In that presser, there was even time for a brief basketball detour. When asked what worried him about Indiana, he simply started, “They can score.”

Boy, he wasn't lying. At least tonight he wasn’t; they were playing the Nets. Reader, you and I could have run a two-man game on Saturday night that would have left Brooklyn in shambles. They couldn’t stop a parked car from rolling uphill.

You can point to the fact that the Indiana Pacers made a searing 23 threes on 46 unconscious attempts. Even if many of them were open (they were), some were contested. “Shooting variance” is is a term of recent popularity. The meaning is straightforward; sometimes, the other team just shoots better, even if it doesn’t indicate quality of play. The loss to Memphis may have been an example of unfortunate shooting variance for Brooklyn.

This was not. Indiana’s four best shooters all lost their minds for different stretches of the game. You reap what you sow. Brooklyn let a young, carefree team play without pressure in the first half of a game it felt like they had to have. Steve Nash was not talking about shooting variance postgame. Instead, he went with, “We have to really think hard about how committed we are to doing this.” Woof.

“It was a disaster,” Nash said. ”How else do you say it? Didn’t see the will. Didn’t see the desire or connectivity necessary to get stops and rebounds.”

“They’re hearing it,” said Nash on whether the players are absorbing his messaging. “They’re arguing with each other about missing coverages and the lack of communication out there. Just too many errors. Too many errors on top of lack of effort at times. Sometimes it’s not even about schemes, it’s about fighting whether it’s, any defense, if you let a guy run in and grab an offensive rebound unopposed it’s hard to get stops. They’re just gonna get two or three chances at the basket.”

Kevin Durant had his coach’s back, saying it was on him and teammates.

“That’s on the individuals. We have to take pride individually. Coach [Steve Nash] could do so much, tell you what to do, and he’s got a plan for us. At the end of the day coaching matters, chemistry matters, and all that stuff matters but we’re individuals,” Durant said postgame. “We got to be better as individuals and then we’ll bring it to the group and figure it out. Each guy just got to dig down deeper and be better. That’s what it is.”

The Film Room

Here are some clips; you don’t have to be John Wooden to tell me this is poor defense:

One clip probably would have sufficed. But you might think any one of the breakdowns above would have been enough for the Nets, a veteran team, to tighten things up. Nope. Call it communication or effort, but to Steve Nash, they are one in the same: “It’s not just effort physically, it’s effort mentally,” in making sure their communication is tight.

Brooklyn did close the third quarter with some real defense for the first time all game; it shifted the momentum. They went into the fourth down just two after, seemingly, not taking their opponent seriously the whole night. They avoided disaster through 36 minutes. Close the game out like a contender should and everybody can take a deep breath before moving onto tomorrow, right? Nope. The Pacers grabbed from seven offensive rebounds in the final period alone. What more is there to say?

In his postgame presser, Durant confirmed that the Nets held a players-only meeting following this, their fourth straight loss. We’re only six games in, but it feels as if it could be too little, too late. Nets fans can only hope some truly inspirational stuff was said in that meeting.

Individual Performances

  • Joe Harris was probably the only bright spot, putting up 11 points and looking the spriest he’s looked since coming off of injury.
  • Yuta Watanabe also had a nice first half, including two nice offensive possessions, back to back. Unfortunately, his time in the second half was unremarkable.
  • Kevin Durant finished with 26 points and a combined seven blocks + steals. That vastly overstates his impact. Durant had four points at halftime, which even then feels like too much. His first shot came over seven minutes into game action. The second half was spent over-correcting for a first half spent passing up open shots; he attempted to will Brooklyn to a win, finishing 8-20 from the field. On this team, with Ben Simmons in perpetual hot potato-mode, there is no problem with Durant imposing his will. It was just too little, too late, and felt forced.
  • Kyrie was Kyrie, there’s almost nothing that happened on the court to talk about with him. We’ll get to the rest later, but he was offensively brilliant and kept the Nets in it.
  • Nash certainly coached like a man with a warm, if not hot, seat. Just six games in, he’s largely pushed Markieff Morris out of the rotation in favor of more unproven, but in all likelihood better talent like Yuta Watanabe. Day’Ron Sharpe, Cam Thomas, Edmond Sumner and Kessler Edwards all sat Saturday. In a game where they couldn’t get stops, Patty Mills didn’t see any second-half minutes.

Kyrie Irving

The story, pregame, was on Kyrie Irving. That certainly did not change postgame, as he had a controversial, combative presser that lasted nearly ten minutes, featuring various monologues and heated exchanges with reporters. We will have the full, unedited transcript up shortly.

As Sponge Bob might say...

Up Next

The Pacers, again, on Monday at home. Unless the Barclays Center falls into a mile-wide sinkhole that opens up underneath Atlantic Avenue between in the next 48 hours.

For a different perspective on tonight’s game, head to our sister site, Indy Cornrows.