Kevin Durant goes ice cold as Nets lose 4th in a row in Dallas

·4 min read

The Nets were already without James Harden (hamstring). But an APB needed to be put out on Kevin Durant, who couldn’t be found in the Nets’ 113-109 loss to the Mavericks on Thursday. It’s the Nets’ fourth loss in a row; not-so perfect timing for a team jockeying for playoff position.

Durant shot just 7-of-21 from the field for 20 points, missing all four of his attempts from deep. His night consisted of mostly clean and comfortable looks that either fell short off front iron.

Durant couldn’t heat up going to the rim, either. He missed back-to-back layups late in the fourth quarter, getting stopped on consecutive possessions as the Nets tried to rally back late in the game.

“I’ve gotta make them shots. I feel like I got good looks and I didn’t make them,” he said postgame. “I feel like if I would have made them, I would’ve settled the team down. So that’s a huge part of what I think didn’t go well for us.”

In that fourth period, Durant said he attempted shots he “shouldn’t have tried,” like a pull-up three over a double team and a runner going left.

“Just trying to get into the game scoring-wise, and sometimes that pushes me out of the game when I try those tough ones, but it’s all a learning experience,” he said.

His cold night came one game after he missed back-to-back attempts in the fourth quarter against the Bucks, which would have cut a five-point deficit to a two-point game in the Nets’ eventual 124-118 loss in Milwaukee. The cold shooting night was an outlier for a future first ballot Hall of Famer who is averaging 28 points per game on 54% shooting from the field, 48% shooting from three and 88% shooting from the foul line, where he made all six of his attempts on Tuesday.

“It’s trust my work and most of the times a mentality switch on what I need to do to be more effective and more efficient,” Durant said of the adjustment he’ll make after a rare poor performance.

The Nets don’t think they need to tell anything to one of the greatest scorers of all-time.

“He’s a Hall of Famer. He’s incredible at what he does. Everyone has off nights. He rarely has off shooting nights,” Steve Nash said postgame. “I have nothing to say to him. He’s going to be Kevin Durant, he’s going to make buckets, he’s going to cause problems for the defense, and tonight was just one of those nights.”

Durant’s cold night also underscored a razor-sharp performance from Kyrie Irving, who scored 15 of the team’s last 24 points and finished with 45 points and seven made threes.

Thursday’s loss to the Mavericks tied the Nets with the Bucks in the loss column. Forget about the No. 1 seed. The Nets now fight to stay out of third place, just a half game in front of Milwaukee.

“I think pressure is good. You’re going to face pressure in the playoffs, so we have to be pressure-tested as a team that hasn’t been there together before,” Nash said. “So this is a little bit of pressure for us, a little bit of a hole to dig out of.”

Here’s one thing the Nets can clean up to be prepared for the playoffs: hit some shots. Durant wasn’t the only cold shooter on Thursday night. Landry Shamet missed all four of his attempts, Joe Harris shot just two-of-six, and the Nets outside of Irving shot just 6-of-24 from downtown.

The Nets fell behind 10 early as Luka Doncic scored 19 points in the first half. The Nets head coach responded in the second half by sending a double team at Doncic. It was successful and held him without a field goal not just throughout the third quarter, but until midway through the fourth.

The Nets have to shake their series of losses off and prepare to finish strong. They have five more games to go, with the Denver Nuggets next up, led by presumptive league MVP Nikola Jokic.

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