The Nets have not been able to get a win so far since their star player Kevin Durant has been down with a sprained MCL, which will leave him out for a month. They are currently on a three-game losing streak
On January 12th, the Nets faced off against Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics where they could not match up, leading to the 108-98 loss. Kyrie Irving scored 24 points in the game, while TJ Warren put up 20 points off the bench. Joe Harris replaced Durant in the starting lineup and scored 18 points, but their offensive performances were not enough to take down the Celtics who were without Jaylen Brown.
Tatum helped lead the Celtics to victory with 20 points and 11 rebounds, while Marcus Smart and Malcolm Brogdon each scored 16 points respectively. The Nets’ first game without Durant did not go well for them, as his offensive output and presence are vital to the team's success.
The Oklahoma City Thunder were on a tear in their game against the Nets in a 112-102 win on January 15. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey both racked up 28 points, while Lu Dort also eclipsed the 20-point mark with 22 points. This young team looked to prove themselves and it showed, as the Thunder made all the right steps to take the win against the Nets.
On the Nets side of things, it was not looking so hot for them. Irving struggled and scored only 15 points that night. Seth Curry was the leading scorer for the Nets with 23 points. Nic Claxton had a great night with 17 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks. Alas, their efforts were not enough and the big offensive hole missing named Kevin Durant gave them the loss.
On January 17 against the San Antonio Spurs, the Nets were without both of their star players that night, with Irving out with a sore right calf. The Nets struggled through the first and third quarter to keep up against the agile and more energetic Spurs. The Nets allowed Keldon Johnson to score a career-high 36 points and grab 11 rebounds, while Jeremy Sochan poured in 16 points.
Warren was the leading scorer that night with 19 points. Claxton had his second straight double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds, while Ben Simmons got a triple-double with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists. Cam Thomas was a bright spot off the bench with 15 points on 6-12 from the floor in 30 minutes, but the Nets still fell 106-98.
The Nets need Durant back as soon as possible before slipping further down on the standings. They are now down at fourth place in the Eastern Conference and they could potentially slip down a few more spots before Durant is back and healthy again. Durant's absence on the floor clearly shows on the court, as they miss his offensive dominance.
Irving has done his best to fill the void, but he needs a secondary scorer to step up to take the load off of him. The Nets have seen glimpses of it from Warren, Curry, and Harris, but the lack of consistency is the issue.
Durant can score over 20 points on a nightly basis, but the rest of the team cannot. It’s possible for them to win if some guys not named Irving or Durant, or someone off the bench have a great night and score over 20 points along with great offensive output from the rest of the team, but that remains to be seen.
The Nets look to match up against the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, but with the way the Nets have been playing, it is possible they are going to grab another loss and continue to struggle until the return of Durant.
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