Nash bashes slumping Nets for lacking fight

Brooklyn's Kyrie Irving driving past Detroit's Mason Plumlee at Little Caesars Arena in Michigan on Tuesday. The visitors were once more poor in defence in their shock 122-111 loss to the East's bottom side.
Brooklyn's Kyrie Irving driving past Detroit's Mason Plumlee at Little Caesars Arena in Michigan on Tuesday. The visitors were once more poor in defence in their shock 122-111 loss to the East's bottom side.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

DETROIT • Steve Nash tore into his depleted Brooklyn Nets side on Tuesday, as their losing streak continued with defeat by the lowly Detroit Pistons.

The Nets - with Kevin Durant again absent owing to Covid-19 protocols - put in another abject defensive display as the Pistons, bottom of the NBA's Eastern Conference, romped to a 122-111 home win.

It marked the seventh straight game that the Nets have shipped 120 points or more, an unwanted new record for a franchise with designs on becoming a National Basketball Association powerhouse following the signing of James Harden last month.

The Pistons dominated from the outset, racing to a 38-26 lead in the first quarter and never relinquishing their grip on the contest thereafter, leading by 20 points at one stage in the second quarter.

A downcast Nash questioned his players' mentality following the loss.

"We can't start the game down 10 points, down 20 points in the second (period), expecting it to come easy," the rookie head coach said. "This is professional sports. The other team is talented and capable and we're shorthanded.

"We've got to come out extremely sharp, extremely competitive and with real fire. It takes us being down by 20 points to find that fire."

Kyrie Irving led the Nets scoring with 27 points while Harden added 24 points with 12 assists. Jeff Green and Landry Shamet were the only other Nets players to make double figures, with 10 points apiece.

The Pistons, meanwhile, were sparked by 32 points from Jerami Grant to improve to 6-18, while Brooklyn, fourth in the East, fell to 14-12 after their third successive loss.

Nash accused his players of lacking fight for most of the game, saying they had shown it only in flashes.

"If you come to the gym, you've got to want to fight with your teammates and make it extremely hard for the other team, make them miserable, and we didn't do that," he said. "We've got a lot to clean up.

"I think our team need to challenge themselves to figure out who they want to be. What they want to represent. A certain amount of that comes down to team-building within the locker room, and deciding if they want to come together and be a force, or whether that's not so important.

"And I think right now they're being tested about whether they want to become that team - tough, connected, and competitive every single night."

However, he played down apparent tensions between members of the Nets squad. At one stage, Harden and DeAndre Jordan appeared to be locked in an animated squabble on the sidelines.

"It's an emotional sport," he said. "We find ourselves in a hole, then you get a little emotional. But I don't think we get there if we come out with the correct intensity."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE


  • 120

    This was the seventh straight game the Nets conceded at least this number of points.

    14-12

    Brooklyn's record, third in the East, after a third straight loss.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 11, 2021, with the headline 'Nash bashes slumping Nets for lacking fight'. Subscribe