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Rescheduling puts Nets in tough stretch of games

Nets head coach Steve Nash and forward Kevin

Nets head coach Steve Nash and forward Kevin Durant look on in overtime of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs at Barclays Center on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

When the NBA rescheduled the Nets’ previously postponed game at Portland, it set up a daunting stretch of four games in five days that started with a coast-to-coast, back-to-back set. They began by moving Sunday’s home game against the Spurs from a scheduled 7:30 p.m. start to noon to give them time to fly cross-country after the game for the makeup date Monday night in Portland.

As it turned out, the Nets had to work overtime for a 121-119 win over the Spurs in which James Harden played 44 minutes and Kevin Durant logged 43 minutes, but Nash said both will play in Portland.

The Nets’ rigorous schedule then continues with a Wednesday night game in Chicago followed by a Thursday night meeting with Oklahoma City back at Barclays Center.

Asked if he could recall a tougher back-to-back during his Hall of Fame playing career, Nets coach Steve Nash said, "I can’t remember all the back-to-backs I ever played, but I don’t remember any six-hour flights between the back-to-back and three time zones. It’s different, but we’ve got to take it as an opportunity to succeed under adversity. So let’s embrace it."

Pressed as to whether the revised NBA schedule puts the Nets at a competitive disadvantage over the next week, Nash said, "I’m very hesitant to make excuses. We’ve got to attack this back-to-back, play well today and we’ll get on the plane and start thinking about [Monday]. When we get there, we’ll try to figure out the best way to be rejuvenated."

The Nets rested LaMarcus Aldridge Sunday because of right foot soreness. Nash slightly expanded his rotation to 11 against the Spurs, using four rookies to buy a bit of rest for his vets.

Of course, the Nets will add Kyrie Irving for the next two road games. Asked if he might see extended minutes, Nash said, "Typically, with a game under his belt, he could play a little more [Monday]. That’s definitely possible."

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