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Nets coach Steve Nash wants players to learn to handle pressure situations

Head coach Steve Nash and Kevin Durant #7

Head coach Steve Nash and Kevin Durant #7 of the Nets look on against the Atlanta Hawks during the first half at Barclays Center on Friday, Jan. 1, 2021. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Early in the second quarter of the Nets’ New Years Day loss to the Hawks, first-time Nets head coach Steve Nash did not call a timeout during a 17-3 Hawks run that gave them a 16-point lead and broke the game open for good. The Nets never got closer than six points the rest of the way.

When asked about his philosophy in that situation, Nash repeated a theme he mentioned earlier this season. "I want to give them an opportunity to try to problem-solve, to try to figure things out themselves throughout the season," Nash said. "That doesn’t mean I won’t call timeouts. But at the same time, I want to give them an opportunity to feel that, to feel the other team going on a run and to solve some of those problems themselves . . . so they can continue to build their resolve and understanding."

It wasn’t exactly a strategy out of the coaching handbook, but it is designed to empower the players, and superstar Kevin Durant, who was on the bench during that run, endorsed the approach. "Your maturity as a team is tested, especially when they’re going on a run and see how you pull together," Durant said. "It’s a good exercise for us to see, especially when teams go on spurts, to see if we can bounce back. Steve has done a great job of knowing when to call timeout and when to let us play. I like to see what he’s doing."

Luwawu-Cabarrot cools off

Following the loss of injured shooting guard Spencer Dinwiddie, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot scored 21 points in his first start. But in the next two, he totaled only five points on 2-for-12 shooting, including 1 of 9 from three-point range. Nash stuck with TLC in the starting lineup against the Wizards on Sunday.

"You get caught in this pressurized situation of wanting everything now, now, now," Nash said. "We’ve got to be careful and not overreact to some of the struggles we’ve had."

New York Sports