NBA

Nets coach Nash praises depth in Harden and Durant absence

By Sports Desk April 20, 2021

Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash has praised Kyrie Irving and his side's team effort after their win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday as doubts grow around James Harden's return.

The Nets edged past the Pelicans 134-129 on Tuesday without key pair Kevin Durant and Harden, with the latter now unlikely to return prior to the play-offs with a hamstring setback.

Brooklyn have only managed to field the 'big three' - Durant, Harden and Kyrie Irving – at the same on only seven occasions due to injuries.

But the Nets improved to 39-19, keeping the pressure on the Philadelphia 76ers at the top in the Eastern Conference.

Irving scored 32 points and had eight assists, while forward Joe Harris hit 24 points with Jeff Green contributing 15 along with nine rebounds and six assists.

Guard Landry Shamet was one of three players to have six or more assists, with eight along with 18 points.

Blake Griffin added 16 points and eight rebounds off the bench, along with Bruce Brown Jr with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

"When Ky was out of the game I thought we played very well," Nash said.

"When we're going into a game with nine men, you're a couple superstars down, you've got guys playing with more responsibility and minutes and if they don’t play well, you can find yourself in a big hole.

"They played really well. Really proud of the way the guys played. I think we started slow because it was nice, new line-up, new combination."

Nash did reserve special praise for Irving who was clutch down the final stretch with some key buckets along with a late steal off Zion Williamson in a tight game.

"He made some really difficult shots," Nash said. "There wasn’t a ton of movement on the last three possessions.

"Tip your hat to your star player who makes the shots but our guys were terrific all night."

Related items

  • Spurs stun Curry's Warriors, Bulls rally past Nets Spurs stun Curry's Warriors, Bulls rally past Nets

    After snapping the Phoenix Suns' franchise-record winning streak, the high-flying Golden State Warriors crashed back down to earth in a shock 112-107 defeat to the San Antonio Spurs.

    In the second of back-to-back games, having halted Phoenix's memorable 18-game run, the league-leading Warriors (19-4) were unable to rally past the Spurs on home court in the NBA on Saturday.

    The Spurs (8-13) used an 8-1 run to close out the game for their fourth consecutive victory, fuelled by Dejounte Murray's 22 points and 12 rebounds.

    Stephen Curry scored 27 points for the Warriors, who had won 11 successive home games – tied for their longest home winning streak since they claimed 54 straight from January 2015 to March 2016.

     

    Bulls battle past Nets

    The Chicago Bulls went on a rampage at Barclays Center, where they overturned a double-digit deficit to trump the Eastern Conference-leading Brooklyn Nets 111-107. Zach LaVine (31 points) and DeMar DeRozan (29 points) inspired the Bulls in the Eastern Conference blockbuster. Kevin Durant led the Nets with 28 points, while James Harden had 14 points and 14 assists.

    Jayson Tatum (also 10 rebounds) and Dennis Schroder scored 31 points apiece to lead the Boston Celtics to a 145-117 blowout of the Portland Trail Blazers, who were without Damian Lillard.

    Reigning MVP Nikola Jokic put up 32 points, 11 rebounds and five assists in just 27 minutes as the Denver Nuggets beat the slumping New York Knicks 113-99.

    No Giannis Antetokounmpo? No worries for defending champions the Milwaukee Bucks, who defeated the Miami Heat 124-102. Bobby Portis sparked the Bucks with 19 points, 16 rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks. He is the first Bucks player with a 15/15/2/2/2 game in under 30 minutes since 1984.

     

    George unable to lift Clippers

    Paul George finished with a double-double but it was a rough night for him and the Los Angeles Clippers following a 104-99 loss at the Sacramento Kings. George only made five of his shots from the floor, while turning the ball over five times on the road.

  • Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo misses second consecutive game Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo misses second consecutive game

    Giannis Antetokounmpo sat out the Milwaukee Bucks' NBA clash with the Miami Heat due to right calf soreness on Saturday.

    Antetokounmpo was absent for the second consecutive game after missing Thursday's loss to the Toronto Raptors because of the same problem.

    The Finals MVP was a late withdrawal for the defending champions' 97-83 defeat against the Raptors, with Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer initially hopeful it was only a "short-term" issue.

    On Saturday, Budenholzer said: "We'll just take it day by day. See how it goes."

    Antetokounmpo is averaging 27.6 points – only behind Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant entering Saturday's play, 11.8 rebounds and a career-high 6.0 assists per game this season.

    Before facing Eastern Conference rivals the Heat, the Bucks boasted a 14-9 record to be fifth – three and a half games behind the Nets.

  • Williams optimistic despite Suns' streak-ending defeat to Warriors Williams optimistic despite Suns' streak-ending defeat to Warriors

    Monty Williams was still looking at the bigger picture after the Golden State Warriors ended the Phoenix Suns' long winning run at Chase Center on Friday.

    The 118-96 loss snapped the Suns' 18-game winning streak and saw the Warriors return to top spot in the Western Conference with a 19-3 record.

    Phoenix beat Golden State 104-96 on Tuesday, but were unable to pull off a repeat three days later, as they were left in second spot on 19-4.

    Suns head coach Williams insisted on looking at the bright side and praised his players for the focus they have shown since losing three of their first four games of the season. 

    "I'm too in it to reflect on it properly," Williams told reporters when asked about the streak ending. "I think every win is special. To me, it was the collective focus that we've had throughout this season, not just the streak. It's only been 23 games, right? So there's a lot of basketball to be played.

    "When we were 1-3 there was no panic, or 'what are we doing?' We just kinda hung in there and simplified some things and played good basketball.

    "We arguably played the best team in the league tonight, them or us. We're not quite sure who it is but it's good to be in that category.

    "Just the focus and the programme growing, that's what I'll remember."

    The Suns were down 51-48 at half-time, but could not build on a strong second quarter and fell away to eventually lose by 22 points, with Deandre Ayton top scoring for the visitors with 23.

    Williams said: "I thought they did a good job of speeding us up. We did that to them the other day. That's part of the chess match.

    "It was physical. I thought they won that battle tonight. It was just one of those tough games.

    "We learned a ton. Both teams about even in turnovers. It was just a slugfest."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.