Even the now-mighty Brooklyn Nets are humbled every now and again — and even they still encounter the occasional learning experience.
A four-game losing streak, which was their longest such skid this season, was ended on Saturday against a strong Western Conference opponent in the Denver Nuggets. That didn’t come without its fair share of concern, too, as Brooklyn had to overturn a 21-point deficit to get off a snide that now sees the Nets sitting three games behind the Philadelphia 76ers for first place in the Eastern Conference.
“We were embarrassed the last few games,” star point guard Kyrie Irving said. “When I say embarrassing, I mean just not playing up to our capabilities, and teams are just coming out and doing whatever they want and feel good. Guys that are on the opposing team, supporting guys on the team are having huge nights sometimes. That’s when it gets embarrassing. It’s when you’re not doing the little things for one another. Moving forward, we just learn from it.”
Pride aside, head coach Steve Nash viewed the last week as a vital learning experience for a team that many believe will coast to at least the Eastern Conference Final — despite this being an organization that has made it past the first round of the playoffs just once since 2007.
“I’m happy for us to be uncomfortable right now,” Nash said. “I’m happy for us to struggle and suffer. I’m glad we won [Saturday], but suffering and building that resolve and that understanding and that we don’t have that common experience, so these experiences when we’re on the mat are good for us, and I think our guys responded tonight. But I’m also okay with us suffering and being uncomfortable.”
With four games left to play, home-court advantage throughout the postseason is a slim prospect given their deficit behind Philadelphia — but an easier schedule will at least provide the Nets with an opportunity to string some positive results heading into the postseason.
The San Antonio Spurs are currently ranked 10th in the West, the Chicago Bulls — who they face twice — are 11th in the East, and their final regular-season opponent, the Cleveland Cavaliers, sit in 13th.
Don’t chalk those up as wins just yet, though.
“There are no guarantees you’re going to win the next game,” Nash warned.