Steve Nash questions Nets’ ‘pride’ as defensive struggles continue

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Steve Nash is willing to adjust the Nets’ defensive system if warranted, but when he rewatched Sunday’s 129-116 loss to the Thunder, he didn’t believe that was necessarily the problem.

“It’s tough — do you make an adjustment, or do you clean up the glaring error of just not taking enough pride and sticking to your man and having the discipline not to bail him out?” Nash said Monday.

“We didn’t show enough pride or respect. Part of it is I think you’re just going to see some of that, and we’re seeing some of that around the league because it’s hard to sustain playing more than every other day. At the same time, that’s the challenge, to dig deep and find a way to win, win ugly, win when you don’t have your best stuff, and to overcome that kind of intense scheduling and demand on the mind and body.”

Nash didn’t hide his frustration with the Nets’ defensive effort after Sunday’s loss, in which they blew a 15-point second-quarter lead. They gave up 72 points in the second half and a season-high 66 points in the paint.

Nets
Nets coach Steve Nash
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Though the Nets entered Monday with the seventh-best defensive rating in the NBA (107.2), they knew Sunday’s effort was not nearly good enough.

“It was just a lot of miscues, a lack [of] individual pride and ownership on that side of the ball,” Joe Harris said. “At some point, you could have whatever schemes, whatever game plan implemented, but a lot of it is going to boil down to you guarding your yard, staying in front of your guy and taking that test, that challenge.”


Nash called it an “awful” and “scary” world with COVID-19 cases continuing to rise every day — the NBA being no exception.

The league has faced challenges in recent days of teams having enough active bodies, because of positive COVID-19 tests or contact tracing, to play games as scheduled. It has some wondering whether the NBA needs to play in a bubble again after doing so successfully last summer, but it is not that simple for those involved.

“The bubble in itself is a good idea,” Harris said, citing safety and the lack of travel. “The basketball quality of the game was just really good. But the other side of it is that it’s tough from a mental perspective. … Guys are going to make the most of it regardless and we’ll do what is asked of us, but certainly not the ideal scenario.”


Guard Tyler Johnson (health and safety protocols) will miss a fourth straight game Tuesday.



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