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Nets playing back-to-back home games against Heat is sign of times during COVID-19 pandemic

Head coach Steve Nash of the Nets reacts

Head coach Steve Nash of the Nets reacts during the fourth quarter against the Miami Heat at Barclays Center on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Nets completed two straight home games against the Heat Monday night at Barclays Center just after two straight road losses at Cleveland last week. Consecutive games against the same opponent at the same site are a feature of the cramped 72-game NBA schedule during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The setup serves as a good laboratory for a team to develop after a shortened training camp and also as a way to prepare for future playoff scenarios. "This is the reality," Nets coach Steve Nash said before the rematch with the Heat after scoring a tough win over them Saturday night. "We are going to have these little series, and I think they’re fine and positive. It’s an opportunity for us to see a unique little segment of the season in a few days. Right now, we look at these as opportunities to grow, to adjust, to play a team twice.

"In Cleveland, we didn’t adjust well enough. Obviously, Kevin [Durant] didn’t play the second game. Tonight, are we willing to do things better and adjust to give ourselves a chance to win twice against Miami?"

Notes & quotes: Since trading fourth-year center Jarrett Allen, the Nets have had trouble guarding opposing big men, including the Heat’s Bam Adebayo, who had a career-high 41 points Saturday. "JA was a terrific defender, but we got a historically great offensive player," Nash said of the four-team deal that brought James Harden. "We aren’t loaded with tons of frontcourt defenders. So, we have a lot to figure out on that end of the floor, and it’s going to take time."…Guard Tyler Johnson was stuck on the bench for all but two minutes of the first six games after returning from COVID-19 quarantine. "I have every trust and confidence in Tyler playing, but we’re just so loaded on the perimeter," Nash said. "There’s only so many minutes to go around. Our top three players are perimeter players, and they’re going to take a ton of minutes."

 

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