Six games: That’s what it took for this Nets season to veer into disaster territory.
In the wake of yet another Kyrie Irving controversy — he tweeted a link to a movie widely regarded as antisemitic — the Nets fell completely flat against a rebuilding Pacers team that suited up only 11 players Saturday night at Barclays Center. The 125-116 loss dropped the Nets to 1-5, their
worst start since 2015.
“It was a disaster,” coach Steve Nash said. “How else do you say it? Didn’t see the will. Didn’t see the desire or connectivity necessary to get stops and rebounds.”
Former Net James Johnson hit a three-pointer with 7:22 to go to put the Pacers up 108-97 — a lead that quickly ballooned as the Pacers hit a franchise-high 23 threes. That also ties a franchise record for most threes allowed by the Nets.
Bennedict Mathurin scored 32 points off the bench and Tyrese Haliburton had 26 for Indiana. Isaiah Jackson had 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Irving had 35 points and Kevin Durant added 26 for the Nets, who were outrebounded 62-43, beaten 16-3 on second-chance points and outscored by seven in the fourth quarter.
“We’ve just got to make a bigger commitment. It’s got to mean more. We’ve got to care more,” Nash said.
“They’re hearing it. They’re arguing with each other about missing coverages and the lack of communication out there. Just too many errors. Too many errors on top of lack of effort at times.
“Sometimes it’s not even about schemes, it’s about fighting, whether it’s any defense. If you let a guy run in and grab an offensive rebound unopposed, it’s hard to get stops. They’re just gonna get two or three chances at the basket.”
Even with Seth Curry (ankle) and Joe Harris (ankle) back on the court, the Nets continued to struggle with their perimeter shooting, going 8-for-23 from three-point range in the first half. They shot 35.9% from downtown overall.