Another rough one for the Brooklyn Nets. It was announced toward the beginning of the week that superstar Kevin Durant would be missing at least four games due to the NBA's health and safety protocol, after it was reported that he was exposed to someone that was diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus.
If missing Kevin Durant wasn't enough, Kyrie Irving gave the media and the doubters exactly what they wanted; Irving went completely AWOL following Brooklyn's victory over the Utah Jazz. Kyrie has not suited up since Tuesday night, and has been listed as inactive due to "personal reasons." No one knows yet what the latest on Kyrie Irving is, or when he'll return; not his coach, not his teammates, not the fans, no one.
Brooklyn Nets start off on the right foot to begin the week, defeating the Utah Jazz 130-96 (4-4)
This was the first of three games in which Kevin Durant was set to miss, but the team still had one of their leader's in Kyrie Irving to help pave the way to a victory, with a 29-point performance. It appears as if Steve Nash has finally been sold on the idea of Jarrett Allen, something the fans have been begging and pleading for since the start of the season. Allen got the start against Utah, where he recorded another double-double on 19 points and 18 rebounds. Allen was also able to rack up three steals and two blocks on the night.
The Nets lead throughout most of this game and never looked back. Nets fans had a win to be proud of, and the team looked like they were going to be okay during Durant's absence... Boy, were we wrong.
Nets' top performers
Kyrie Irving - 29 minutes, 29 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals
Caris LeVert - 21 minutes, 24 points, 5 assists, 2 steals
Jarrett Allen - 31 minutes, 19 points, 18 rebounds, 3 steals
Nets defeat Philadelphia 76ers despite missing Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, 122-109 (5-4)
What a game! I'll admit it, after it was announced that both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant would miss this game, I was ready to just go to bed and put the game in the books as an embarrassing loss. I was as wrong as I could be, and I couldn't be happier. The Nets banded together and completed a real team victory, every player on the court on Thursday night had a fingerprint on the game. Brooklyn did little wrong in this one; aside from free throws, Brooklyn led in almost every category.
To me, the difference maker in this game was the offensive rebounds. The second chance looks that haunted the Nets last week, was their biggest strength against the team with the best record in the league, the Philadelphia 76ers. 11 offensive rebounds compared to Philadelphia's four really helped put a cap on this game for Brooklyn. It didn't help that the 76ers turned the ball over 20 times versus Brooklyn's 12, and the Nets racked up 11 steals compared to Philadelphia's six.
Jarrett Allen recorded his fourth double-double in the last five games on Thursday night, with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Allen has been on a tear this season, and is slowly solidifying himself as a top big man in the East. Caris LeVert also recorded a double-double of his own, with 22 points and 10 assists.
Nets' top performers
Caris LeVert - 32 minutes, 22 points, 7 rebounds, 10 assists
Jarrett Allen - 28 points, 15 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block
Joe Harris - 28 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 66.7% from three (6 for 9)
Nets fail to complete the huge comeback, fall to the Memphis Grizzlies 110-115 (5-5)
From the starting tip, to the final buzzer, this just wasn't Brooklyn's game. The Nets got off to a slow start, where they saw themselves fall into a 22-point deficit at one point. Slowly but surely, Brooklyn started to scratch and claw their way back into the game, which surprisingly enough, they did. The Nets actually found themselves taking the lead late in the game, erasing the 20+ point hole that they were in, only to have the same old mistakes and miscues that they've suffered all season long rear their ugly head's, and claim yet another victim.
The Grizzlies outscored the Nets 13-6 in the final few minutes of the game to re-take the lead, and just like that, the comeback was dead. Brooklyn drops their second game of the season to the Memphis Grizzlies, who have yet to face a Nets' lineup consisting of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Nets' top performers
Caris LeVert - 35 minutes, 43 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists
Taurean Prince - 24 minutes, 16 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal
Jarrett Allen - 30 minutes, 12 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal
Nets finish the week on a low note, losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder 116-129 (5-6)
Despite Kevin Durant returning to the lineup, the Nets continued their struggle to find their rhythm this season. In a game where Brooklyn saw themselves get off to a fast lead, they quickly started running out of fuel and surrendered the driver's seat to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the Oklahoma City Thunder. Kyrie Irving is still missing, and fans are starting to look in Steve Nash's direction for a scapegoat.
Nets' fans remember how short of a leash head coach Kenny Atkinson was kept on last season before he was fired, and many are wondering if rookie head coach Steve Nash will finish the season in Brooklyn. It is too early to tell, and it is not time to hit the panic button yet, Brooklyn fans, but with the incredible talent that this roster boasts, it is understandable if you're starting to get worrisome about how awfully the team has performed over the last two weeks.
Net's top performers
Kevin Durant - 37 minutes, 36 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists
Caris LeVert - 35 minutes, 21 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists
Jarrett Allen - 33 minutes, 15 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist
Like I stated above, Nets' fans, don't hit the panic button just yet. It is still super early in the season, and this team is way too talented to fizzle out like this. They're due for a hot streak any day now.
Brooklyn's opponents for the upcoming week:
vs. Denver - Tuesday, 1/12
@ Knicks - Wednesday, 1/13
vs. Orlando - Saturday, 1/16
Follow me on Twitter for all your Brooklyn Nets news, updates, and rumors. @NY_cth.