OKLAHOMA CITY – Even if the NBA’s second-best goalscorer goes out, the Brooklyn Nets have a franchise record for most points in a regular game on Friday, losing 147 points at the Oklahoma City Thunder with 22 points.
“We’re getting there … we’re slowly moving forward on both ends of the floor,” said coach Steve Nash. “We fought defensively sometimes, but we are getting more defensive with our game plan. Offensive you see a little more flow. You see James [Harden] able to manage the game like that and manipulate the defense. “
By the quarter, the nets were scoring 36, 40, 39 and 32 points, building an early lead and consistently scoring goals throughout the game. They shot 57% off the field, hit 19 3-pointers and had 33 team assistants.
While Kevin Durant sat as part of a rest plan while continuing to work on his Achilles injury, Kyrie Irving and Harden took the reins, combining 50 points – 25 apiece.
“We’re obviously catching a rhythm offensively,” said Harden. “But also defensively. We learn our strengths and weaknesses and things in which we can improve.”
The offensive explosion of the nets has steadily increased. 10 of the last 11 games had at least 110 points. But they were also, to put it mildly, mediocre on the defensive. The Thunder, who last entered the game offensively, still gained 125 points while shooting 46.5% off the ground.
“Familiarity is growing at both ends of the floor. [But] We still have a long way to go to be defensive, “said Nash.” It is not our strength or our strength, but we need to be clear with our game plan and talk and participate in our actions. “
Harden and Irving spent various parts of the game orchestrating solo while Nash shifted their minutes. But there were also long stretches of them playing off each other, with Harden doing his usual isolated drive-and-kick thing while Irving flashed his finishing ability in color.
“I’ll always say that I don’t take a day for granted. This doesn’t happen often in history if you have this group together at this point,” said Irving. “Some of the guys were starters on their respective teams last year; some of the guys are MVP candidates. And to have all this collective talent and not get the most of it, we’d be doing ourselves a disservice. So we do it simple.” want to continue to push each other and hold each other accountable. “
Harden attributed the overall improvement in group communication, with assignments, coverages, and adjustments made clear throughout the game. Irving and Harden were at the top of the standings, but there was also an impressive balance to the game: a total of nine players finished in double digits.
“It’s always very satisfying when you win, but when the whole team is playing well and you’re doing some great things as a collective group, it definitely stands out from the crowd,” said Irving.
The Nets have won four straight wins and have been 6-2 since trading Harden. There have been some rough spots where Harden has walked longer distances that were less involved in the offense, or Irving’s inefficiency but the chemistry has improving, said Nash, and he only expects improvement.
“On the offensive, I think guys get a feel and rhythm for each other, how boys like to play, where they like the ball, how they like to move, cut and play against each other,” he said.
Harden said the nets are keeping an eye on the process, noting that it only gets tougher as the season progresses. As the games get bigger and the season smaller, the chemistry of the nets and how they are executed becomes more prominent.
“We are challenged every night. We will get the best result for everyone,” said Irving. “But now we are only finding the continuity to use the strengths that we have.”