During the first six games of the season, while alternating losses and winnings, the nets were the most consistent cruising towards the slow start.
Aside from their most complete win of the season, against the Wizards on Monday, the Nets have struggled early in the games, with Friday being the latest example. The Pacers outscored them 38-26 in the first quarter and led them by up to 16 points in the second quarter before the Nets settled back to win 105-98.
“We have to do the little things on the defensive side of the ball,” Kevin Durant said. “I feel like we flipped it three times in a row there the first time. We gave up like three or four attacking rebounds in the first, and then he got them up at the three-point line, and so they felt good about themselves to start with. So it’s the little things.”
“Teams are going to come in here and feel like they have to do little things to beat us: offensive rebounds, spoiling the game, stealing, blocking paint, things like that. So we have to realize that. Teams are going to try to start and hit us early to get the lead, and I think we’re We did a good job responding.”
Durant credited the Nets’ second unit, including veteran big man Paul Millsap, at the heart of the game. Millsap scored all eight of its points over a nine-minute period in the second quarter, helping the Nets work out a deficit, and a three-point lead into the first half.
However, the Nets will have to tackle their tough starts as they continue to look for consistency in their junior season. After beating the Wizards, in which they stormed their 18-point lead after 12 minutes, the Nets won by a combined 33-point lead in the first quarters of their other five games.
“It’s something we should definitely find out,” said LaMarcus Aldridge, who scored 17 of 21 points in the second half on Friday while joining the 20,000-point NBA club. “We just understood we were one of the favourites, so every team would come here and just want to give us an ‘L.’ Guys come here and they can shoot the ball, whether they have it all year or their career guys. [are] He just played with us so we have to make sure we are always ready for that.”
Nick Claxton (non-COVID illness) and Millsap (for personal reasons) have been disqualified from Sunday’s game against the Pistons.
Durant was fined $25,000 for throwing the ball into the stands in the third quarter of Friday’s game. He wasn’t fired – referee Sean Wright told a rally reporter he should have been – but said he expected a fine.
“I’m sure a big fine is coming, but I don’t mind making a donation — I’m sure the NBA office will use that to fund the college,” Durant said.