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With Kyrie Irving out again, Nets look to rebound against Hornets

The Nets' Kyrie Irving looks on during a

The Nets' Kyrie Irving looks on during a timeout in the second half against the Pacers at Barclays Center on Monday. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

In Kenny Atkinson’s view, the Nets are not a house that needs to be razed and rebuilt.

They just need some minor repairs.

“Is the foundation crumbling?” Atkinson said after the Nets practice at HSS Training Center Tuesday. “No, it’s not. But there are little chunks in it [and] we’ve got to go and spackle it.”

Atkinson added, “The average to below average teams are inconsistent. The really good teams are consistent. That’s what we’re looking for.”

For a team that most observers thought would be a part of the Eastern Conference echelon, the Nets enter Wednesday’s game at Barclays Center against the Hornets with a 5-8 record, and are coming off their worst loss of the season, a 115-86 rout at the hands of the Indiana Pacers Monday.

“Obviously they imposed their will in the second quarter,” Spencer Dinwiddie said of the Pacers who outscored the Nets 41-17 in the 12-minute stretch to go into halftime with a comfortable 59-35 lead.

“Hopefully against Charlotte we impose our will and do what we need to do. I mean, we know what we need to do in terms of impose our will, defensive intensity, rebounding, all that stuff to be able to win games. We got a shot to do that. We just have to go forward with that.”

However, they'll have to do it without Kyrie Irving (shoulder impingement) and Caris LeVert (thumb surgery). Neither will play against a Hornets team that beat the Pistons Friday and the Knicks Saturday with last-second three-pointers.

The Hornets’ 36.5 three-point shooting percentage is tied for sixth in the NBA, whereas the Nets’ defensive rating of 111 is 22nd in the league. But Atkinson pointed out that the Nets are a top-10 team in attempted three-pointers against.

Against the Pacers, the Nets struggled to contain Aaron Holiday and Domantas Sabonis. Holiday finished with 24 points, 13 assists and six rebounds, while Sabonis had 16 points, 18 rebounds and three assists.

“We have to do a good job or should have done a better job containing Aaron Holiday and Domantas Sabonis,” Dinwiddie said.

Dinwiddie spoke at length about a story in The Athletic which reported that the NBA could punish the guard should he go ahead with his plan to convert his $34.4 million contract into bitcoin.

Essentially, if Dinwiddie is able to convert his contract to the digital currency, fans would be able to buy a piece of the 26 year old, somewhat similar to buying a stock. But bitcoin is unregulated.

The payoff for those who buy the Dinwiddie bitcoins would be if he uses his player option in 2021 and signs a bigger contract in free agency.

Dinwiddie is earmarked to make $10.605 million this year and $11.454 in 2020-21.

“I was really perplexed by [the NBA's] new [argument], said Dinwiddie, whose 18.5 points and 4.8 assists rank second on the team. “They’re like, ‘You’re gambling,’ and I was like, ‘No, you all put [the option] in the contract. I didn’t invent a [player] option.’”

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