The two sides of Nets’ Steve Nash as playoffs loom

Steve Nash has performed a splendid job in his first yr as a head basketball coach.

Steve Nash might be the No. 1 concern the Nets could have when the NBA’s playoff match kicks off in a pair of weeks.

It’s not merely that each of these sentences could be true. They are completely true. They are definitely true. It doesn’t reduce the job Nash has performed on this, his maiden voyage, retaining the Nets at or close to the highest of the Eastern Conference all yr. You are allowed to additionally point out that he has by no means coached a playoff sport in his life.

Both could be true.

Both are true.

“We have to give ourselves some kind of a buffer while we get more familiar with our schemes and sets,” Nash stated after the Bucks beat the Nets 124-118 at Fiserv Forum on Tuesday evening, pulling Milwaukee to inside a sport of the Nets within the loss column and the No. 2 seed whereas concurrently clinching the season tie-breaker with Brooklyn.

“Those guys have been together for years and we haven’t,” Nash stated. “We have to make up that gap. That’s our life in a nutshell.”

Steve Nash talks with Jeff Green during the Nets' 124-118 loss to the Bucks.
Steve Nash talks with Jeff Green through the Nets’ 124-118 loss to the Bucks.

Well, that’s one of the nutshells that can outline the Nets’ lives as soon as the playoffs start and the highlight turns into completely affixed to this nice Brooklyn basketball experiment. It is essential to recollect always that the Nets are nonetheless in play for the No. 1 seed regardless of taking part in all of seven video games at what quantities to full power this yr, video games when James Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have been all accessible.

But it’s also essential to recollect video games like this, when Nash all however had his lunch cash stolen by Milwaukee’s Mike Budenholzer. Most obtrusive was the best way he meekly allowed the Bucks to steamroll his group with an 18-1 run that turned a 103-97 Nets lead with 10 minutes to play right into a 115-104 Bucks benefit in simply over 4 minutes of tortured, torturous, one-sided basketball.

Nash, to his credit score, admitted as a lot.

“I could’ve called timeout there for sure,” he stated. “But that’s also a part of our team: We want to problem-solve. We want to keep attacking. Maybe I could’ve called another timeout but you also want to make sure you save a few for the end of the game.”

Handily, the sport ended with two unused timeouts for the Nets, and with a real lack of urgency as they tried to come back again on the Bucks, passing up 3s for 2s, not shortening the sport or the court docket with timeouts.

It isn’t simply the gamers who must change into more proficient at problem-solving.

Now, sure, it’s potential that quite a bit of Nash’s inexperience can be camouflaged when Harden returns and the Big 3 is undamaged, able to mow down the remainder of the East. But it’s also essential to keep in mind that the upside-down nature of the East signifies that whereas the Nets may personal each different matchup, up and down the lineup, the first-round pairing that issues most may appear like this:

Nash versus Erik Spoelstra.

Or Nash versus Brad Stevens.

Or Nash versus Tom Thibodeau.

And that doesn’t embrace the enjoyable that’ll be in retailer for Nash, assuming he survives that chess match, when he’ll virtually definitely must outwit each Budenholzer and Doc Rivers in some order simply to make it out of the East.

Again, perhaps expertise can overcome and overwhelm that. Maybe Nash will lean on Mike D’Antoni, a veteran of 10 playoff springs and summers as a head coach, the best way Joe Torre used to depend on Don Zimmer as soon as the calendar flipped to October. And perhaps the Nets’ greatest fear can be what Nash is insisting it is going to be.

“We don’t have a common history,” Nash stated. “Everything is new.”

He’s obtained that final half proper for positive, beginning with the person staring again at him within the mirror day-after-day.

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