Nets continuing to work on quality of play
OKLAHOMA CITY — This early in the season, it’s more about the process than the product for the Nets.
Both have so far been quite good.
On Sunday, the Nets (11-4) face off against Thunder. This will be their last game of a six-game season. They have a great chance to end a fantastic 5-1 road trip. But Kevin Durant said they’re more concerned with the quality of the basketball they’re playing.
“More so than our record, it’s about how we’re playing,” Durant said. “Obviously, we want to win every game, but we’ve got a bigger goal in mind, and it’s about the habits that we build.
“I feel like, throughout this road trip, we did have some solid games, we did have those games where we played great offensively, bad defensively like [Friday]There were games when we did well offensively and played poorly defensively. You seeing us trying to put games together, and I think that’s the good part about it, we’re figuring out what works out on both ends and now it’s on us to put it for a full 48 [minutes].”
As their offense, which is now without All-Star Kyrie Irvine, tries to find its way with no All-Star Kyrie Irving, the Nets often do it with surprising defense. On Friday, Durant and James Harden were the only ones who broke out in New Orleans.
Against the Thunder — just 5-6 on the season, but winners of four straight — the Nets have a chance to complete their impressive trip. They lost in Chicago but rebounded and led 21 to the Magic before losing the game.
The Nets still have seven wins from their eight last ones, which coincides with Harden’s hot streak. The Nets see momentum as a benefit in concluding the trip strong.
“Most definitely,” DeAndre’ Bembry said. “We lost to a good Chicago team, but we have a good group that knows how to get past a loss. It is a positive thing. The win over Orlando, particularly coming off the Chicago game would have been a nice way to finish the road trip.
“Yeah, we’ve got a collective group that’s not really worried about losses right now. The team is aware of what they have. We’re very confident and we look forward to each game and try to win each game. We’re looking forward to ending this road trip on a high note and finishing it off right.”
This is the Nets’ longest road trip since a seven-game swing from March 13-28, 2019. It’s the first time in team history they’ve played six consecutive road games right after six straight at home.
DeAndre’ Bembry shot 26.4 percent from 3-point range last season and is a career 28.1 from deep. He comes in Sunday shooting splits 564/700/857.
Steve Nash says Nic Claxton, who is ill with a respiratory illness, is not expected to play on Sunday. However, he continues to improve. … Vit Krejci, Theo Maledon, Tre Mann, Paul Watson and Aaron Wiggins are all out on G-League assignment for the Thunder.