Nets head coach Steve Nash and Kevin Durant react late...

Nets head coach Steve Nash and Kevin Durant react late during the fourth quarter against the Hawks at Barclays Center on Dec. 30, 2020. Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Nets were on the second game of a back-to-back when they faced the Heat Saturday night at Barclays Center, so, there was no chance to address their breakdowns on defense and rebounding in the previous two losses to the Cavaliers, but coach Steve Nash was frank in addressing his team’s most glaring deficiencies before the game.

"I still firmly believe we just go out and refine things that we’ve been doing," Nash said. "We haven’t done them well enough. We haven’t communicated enough. We haven’t made second efforts. At times, it feels like we want a solution rather than a fight.

"And so, we’ve just got to make sure our mentality is strong and we stick together and we keep pushing to refine those details, and then, we can improve defensively. No matter what scheme you go to, it has to be five men in concert defending actions with intelligence and passion. I think it’s more getting on the same page and the passion that we need to double down on before we start thinking it’s rotations and schemes. We think it’s just familiarity."

The Nets allowed the Cavs to average 136.0 points in the two losses. But Kevin Durant sat out Friday’s game, which was only the second together for Kyrie Irving and James Harden. So, Nash said it will be a long growth process. At the same time, he was hoping Durant’s return would go a long way toward addressing the 50-29 rebound deficiency Friday night.

"Obviously, his length and his ability to rebound helps us a lot," Nash said. "It gives us more size. I’m hopeful that having a full lineup tonight will help us rebound a little better. But we’ve still got to be a gang rebounding team. Kevin’s not just going to come in and get 15 a night. So, I think the mandate is clear and we constantly address it in terms of this is a weakness for us."

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