The Brooklyn Nets have proven they can play when the stakes are the highest. After all, they have taken down the Clippers, Bucks, Celtics, Jazz, and 76ers, all on national television and are 6-0 in all nationally televised games. However, the Nets have also had clunkers in there against some of the also-rans of the league, such as the Cavaliers, Thunder, Hornets, and Wizards.
Some may point to the fact that those losses came when Durant was out of the lineup due to health issues, or Irving was out due to personal reasons, while others occurred before the Harden trade. In any event, those excuses are now gone. With an 8-3 mark since acquiring Harden, the Nets have a legitimate shot to come out of the Eastern Conference.
Now it’s all a matter of consistency for the suddenly powerful Nets, and the stars have hinted that the regular season is now about getting better. The goal is to keep building and play their best basketball come playoff time. One thing they must avoid, as Irving admits, is playing down to their opponent.
One loss that was particularly bad was against the Wizards. It’s only the ninth time in the last 25 seasons that a team has blown a lead of five or more with only ten seconds remaining on the clock. Getting lazy, losing focus, or whatever the reason is, the Nets know they need to finish games.
The Nets found a way to hold on against the Clippers after going up ten points late. It was a nail-biting finish, but the Nets held on and Durant said the key is for the stars to come up big at the end. With multiple guys that can finish games, advantage Nets.
The scary proposition for the rest of the league is if Durant, Harden and Irving are all playing at their highest level at the same time. There is very little an opponent can do in terms of outscoring them. The only thing that can stop the Nets moving forward is lack of focus, which leads to inconsistent play. If they fix that, expect a deep run into the post season.