Nets hope ‘uncomfortable’ stretch will help in NBA playoffs

The Nets’ previous 5 video games in opposition to playoff groups and MVP candidates — 4 of them on the street — have been a postseason preview.

It’s been uncomfortable and, at instances, unsuccessful, however in the long term, helpful.

“I’m happy for us to be uncomfortable right now. I’m happy for us to struggle and suffer,” Steve Nash stated. “I’m glad we won [Saturday], but suffering and building that resolve and that understanding — we don’t have that common experience, so these experiences when we’re on the mat are good for us.”

After snapping a season-high four-game skid Saturday in Denver, now the Nets are bracing for Tuesday’s recreation in Chicago.

With simply 4 dates left in the common season, the Nets are nonetheless constructing bonds and cohesion for the postseason.

“In the playoffs, when we’re all locked-in, we’ve all just got to be on one accord, one mind,” Kyrie Irving stated. “Just keep on with what we now have and belief it. That’s the massive phrase transferring ahead in the remaining journey: it’s ‘Trust.’ When you belief that the sport will reward you while you’re enjoying arduous, while you’re supporting your teammates, doing the best issues, then the sport normally goes in your favor.

“This is the only time we’ve been really tested throughout the season in terms of having losses, four losses in a row. I don’t know the last time I had four losses in a row — which is very fortunate, I’m very blessed — but it’s great that we get these types of challenges. Now we go to Chicago — where we have yet to win — and play against an Eastern Conference team that we may see. So it’s exciting.”

The groups the Nets simply completed enjoying each examined them and taught them a lesson.

“We were embarrassed the last few games,” Irving admitted.

Those previous couple of video games got here in opposition to Portland’s Damian Lillard, at Milwaukee in opposition to Giannis Antetokounmpo (twice) after which at Dallas versus Luka Doncic. They misplaced each one, and have been trailing MVP favourite Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets by 21 factors Saturday earlier than storming again to win. It was their second-biggest comeback of the season, behind solely their 24-point rally in Phoenix.

After giving up 104 factors by the primary three quarters Saturday — tied for essentially the most they’d surrendered all season — they held Denver to only 15 in the ultimate interval on 6 of 23 capturing.

It’s a comeback the Nets are satisfied can jump-start their momentum for the regular-season stretch run.

Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant dives for a unfastened ball in opposition to the Nuggets.

“We had a different energy about us,” stated Blake Griffin. “Hopefully that will get us again on observe. If that occurs once more, we’ve acquired to maintain the religion and do the identical factor we did: dig deep and play more durable.

“Any experience like this is good for us. The biggest part is if we now continue off of this and — not to say we come out and play super-aggressive and hit every shot — just that we have to have that resiliency about us. Even if we get down in one of these last four games, we stay together and dig a little bit deeper and play harder.”

Brooklyn can also be anticipating the return of James Harden. The hamstrung star has missed 17 straight video games, however is predicted to return — possibly even in this back-to-back, Tuesday on the Bulls or Wednesday versus the Spurs.

The Nets misplaced their April 4 assembly in Chicago, a 115-107 setback with out Harden or Kevin Durant. Harden got here again from a hamstring harm the following day versus the Knicks, solely to limp off after simply 4:22. He hasn’t performed since.

Still, no matter when Harden returns, the Nets say they realized some beneficial classes about effort and sweat fairness throughout this tough patch.

“There’s no guarantees you’re going to win the next game. Our mentality has to be we’re willing to outwork people, do the extra bit of effort every possession to win that possession,” Nash stated. “If we’re willing to do the extra work … a lot of good things can happen.”

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