TODAY'S PAPER
Good Morning
Good Morning
SportsBasketballNets

Bruce Brown back for Nets, but Steve Nash goes with DeAndre' Bembry against Suns

Nets' DeAndre' Bembry (95) drives to the basket

Nets' DeAndre' Bembry (95) drives to the basket as Chicago Bulls' Tony Bradley (13) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Nov. 8, 2021, in Chicago.  Credit: AP/Charles Rex Arbogast

Bruce Brown returned Saturday and was available to face the Suns, but Steve Nash continued to play the hot hand with DeAndre’ Bembry in a big-time matchup against Devin Booker.

Brown missed two games with a hamstring injury, and before the game, Nash spoke highly of both his and Bembry’s ability to get open for easy looks and spur the offense despite not being flashy players. For now, both will continue to be significant factors, even though Bembry’s veteran-minimum contract isn’t guaranteed yet and won’t be until Jan. 10.

"It’s their skill set, the way their mind works, their mentality," Nash said.

"Those two guys are very good cutters, very good guys at finding pockets of space and not deterring from our offensive efficiency. Even without being elite or historically great shooters, they’re able to impact the offense in a positive way, which allows us to have them on the floor for defense.

"Both are similar in that respect, that they’re intelligent and hungry to make an impact without necessarily hunting shots."

Bembry had nine points and 10 rebounds in his start against the Celtics on Nov. 24.

No Kyrie, but ‘O’ improving

Despite the questions surrounding Kyrie Irving’s continued absence, the Nets’ offense has found a way to improve in recent weeks, with a second-best 112.2 offensive rating in their last 14 games (they’ve won 12). Despite Saturday’s missteps, they have looked better.

"I think time together," Nash said when asked about what’s keyed the offense. Time "to analyze who we are, what this group is capable of together, what’s the pathway for this group to be efficient and effective offensively.

"I think the nuts and bolts of that are just playing earlier — getting organized, getting the ball down the floor, getting into actions quicker, getting to the second side quicker. [It’s] different things that can help us with this current roster not playing against a locked defense and making things difficult."

New York Sports