WASHINGTON — After the Nets blew a third straight double-digit lead in egregious fashion in a double-overtime loss to Memphis on Friday, coach Kenny Atkinson found plenty of blame to go around upon review, including for himself. The Nets had a seven-point lead with 33 seconds left in regulation but made a plethora of mistakes.
“We shot ourselves in the foot,” he said. “The big regret is giving up those threes. It’s ironic because we’re the team that gives up the least amount of threes in the league.”
Atkinson faulted his team for sending too much help when Memphis star Mike Conley drove and then kicked to open three-point shooters, and fouls compounded the mistakes.
“Don’t give up threes and don’t foul,” Atkinson said. “We did both.”
Atkinson blamed himself for a failed inbounds play with 23 seconds left that led to a turnover by D’Angelo Russell, which set up a tying three-pointer by Jaren Jackson Jr. at the end of regulation.
“We’ve got to get that ball in,” Atkinson said. “That’s on the coach, and I have to do a better job diagraming a better play to get the ball in.”
Nets get bad calls
According to the NBA Officiating Last Two Minute Reports, there were eight incorrect calls in the final two minutes of regulation and of each overtime Friday, and six went against the Nets, including a foul on Rondae Hollis-Jefferson that set up a four-point play by Jackson to cut the Nets’ lead to three in regulation. Jackson officially committed an offensive foul.
“You can have frustration or not have frustration, but from our perspective, we’re only looking at our mistakes,” Atkinson said. “It’s something we can’t control . . . Obviously, disappointed in the outcome, but that’s the way it is.”
Russell shot a combined 16-for-52 in his previous two games. Asked about that volume of shots, Atkinson said, “I think that’s a little bit of the result of Caris [LeVert] being out. He’s got to find a happy medium between taking a lot of shots and being aggressive and distributing.” . . . Joe Harris (adductor strain) sat out his second straight game, but he is day-to-day. Atkinson said he’s “optimistic” that Harris will be able to play Monday against the Cavaliers.