The Brooklyn Nets are not playing very good basketball right now. Heading into a matchup against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night, the Nets had lost their last five games and were 3-7 in their last 10 contests. Unfortunately for Brooklyn, that losing streak continued in Sacramento, as the Kings took care of business at home in a 112-101 win, handing the Nets their sixth-straight loss.
Nets guard James Harden struggled mightily scoring the ball against the Kings, putting up just four points while going 2-for-11 from the field and missing all five 3-point attempts he took. Though Harden racked up 12 assists, it was his scoring that Brooklyn needed against the Kings, and he couldn’t deliver on that. The four points Harden totaled were the fewest points he’s ever scored in a game in which he’s played at least 30 minutes. Kyrie Irving also had a lackluster performance (14 points, 5-15 FG), as the Nets leading scorer of the game was Nic Claxton with 23 points and 11 boards.
After the game, when asked if the team would hold a players-only meeting, Harden shot down the idea.
“I think we’ve done too much talking, we just have to go out there and do it, and do it consistently,” Harden said. “We have times where we’re great, then we have times where we’re really bad. We just have to find some consistency throughout the course of the games.”
Harden also offered some perspective on the loss, saying “there’s no concern. We don’t have our entire team, and this is happening to us.”
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Although Harden isn’t too concerned about this loss, that doesn’t make it any less egregious for Brooklyn. The Kings, who were without De’Aaron Fox, entered this matchup on a seven-game losing streak, and with the fifth-worst record in the NBA. Though the Nets were on the second night of a back-to-back, this loss is still a bad one.
It’s also continuing a trend of the Nets playing poorly since Kevin Durant went down with a sprained MCL a couple of weeks ago. In the nine games that Durant’s been sidelined, the Nets have gone 2-7, and have dropped down to the No. 6 spot in the Eastern Conference. The recent struggles for the Nets amplify comments made by Harden this past week in which he talked about the team’s frustrations with how the season has gone so far.
“Of course I’m frustrated because we’re not healthy,” Harden said. “There’s a lot of inconsistency for whatever reason. Injuries, COVID, whatever you want to call it. But yeah, it’s frustrating. I think everybody in this organization is frustrated because we are better than what our record is and we should be on the way up.”
Entering the season the Nets were considered the odds-on favorite to win the championship, and even without Irving for a large portion of it due to his unvaccinated status, Brooklyn looked like a dominant team capable of winning it all. However, an injury to Durant and Irving’s part-time status has made for a bumpy road recently. Harden’s also had his own struggles this season. He’s averaging the fewest points of his career since his third year in the league, and his shooting percentages are the lowest since his rookie season. A right hand strain also kept Harden out for two games during this current losing streak.
So it’s safe to say that nothing is going right for the Nets right now. But Brooklyn needs to figure things out quickly, because with this recent slide down the rankings only 1.5 games separate it and the seventh-placed Charlotte Hornets. The Nets will have their next chance to end their losing streak Friday night when they take on a Utah Jazz team that is also dealing with injuries to key players.