Short-handed Nets no match for Warriors
Harris, Millsap sit as Golden State stomps Brooklyn
The Brooklyn Nets are doing fine with two superstars instead of three thus far this season.
But not having their full allotment of regulars, coupled with Kevin Durant’s sore right shoulder, cost them dearly Tuesday night at Downtown’s Barclays Center.
With Joe Harris and Paul Millsap sitting, Durant, James Harden and the rest of the Nets hung tough for one half before suffering a 117-99 loss to the league-best Golden State Warriors in front of a sellout crowd of 17,732 on the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush.
Harris suffered a left ankle sprain during Sunday’s win in Oklahoma City, which capped an impressive 5-1 road trip for Brooklyn.
Millsap missed his second straight contest for personal reasons, leaving the Kyrie Irving-less Nets at a disadvantage against a Warriors team that has won 12 of its first 14 contests.
Trailing 63-58 at the half, Brooklyn was trounced, 35-18, in the fourth quarter and never recovered against Durant’s former team after topping the Warriors twice last season.
Harden scored 24 points and Durant added a season-low 19 for the Nets, who were looking to bounce back quickly Wednesday night here vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“It’s solid,” Durant, the NBA’s leading scorer, said of his injury after misfiring on all but six of his 19 shots.
“A little sore here and there, but I played, didn’t get in the way too much. Keep getting treatment and take it a day at a time.”
Touted as a potential NBA Finals preview, the game lived up to expectations before Andrew Wiggins and Steph Curry combined for the first eight points after halftime, giving Golden State a 71-58 cushion.
Curry finished with a game-high 37 points and heard “MVP!” chants from the bi-partisan crowd.
Wiggins added 19 points for the Warriors, who had their season-best seven-game winning streak snapped in Charlotte on Sunday before bludgeoning the Nets (10-5) after intermission.
“So it’s not the playoffs, but there’s an intensity that you have to show up to beat a team like that,” said Curry, who will likely be battling Durant for league Most Valuable Player honors.
“You thrive off that competitive atmosphere, knowing that there’s a lot of talent on the floor.”
Bruce Brown scored 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting for Brooklyn, which was outrebounded, 53-37.
Irving, who remains unvaccinated and exiled from the team for failing to adhere to New York City COVID-19 mandates at Barclays, isn’t expected back anytime soon.
But Harris, who is expected to be out for the next several games, and Millsap were missed Tuesday as the Nets shot just 38 percent overall, including a poor 10-of-36 effort from 3-point range.
“They got long defenders, guys that can help, so seeing bodies all the time when I had the ball, that’s what great defenses do. And then some shots I wish I could’ve had back,” Durant told the Associated Press.
“I rushed a few once we got down 15, 20. I’m trying to get it back so fast you end up taking bad shots and rushed shots.”
If Harris and Millsap can rush back into action, the Nets’ shot selection and shooting percentage will likely improve.
Harris, known as one of the primary 3-point shooters in the league, buried 9-of-12 from long range last Friday in New Orleans before leaving the floor early against Oklahoma City Sunday.
NOTHING BUT NET: Golden State head coach Steve Kerr, who won a pair of NBA titles with Durant, was asked about the legendary power forward before and after he suffered a gruesome Achilles injury that knocked him out of the 2019 NBA Finals for the Warriors. “He was pretty damn good then, so he doesn’t look any different to me and that’s after an Achilles injury that kept him out for a year and a half,” Kerr said. “So that’s saying something. But I don’t think you can tell he had an injury, given his ability, his speed, his explosion.” … After hosting the Cavaliers on Wednesday, the Nets will wrap up this three-game homestand Friday night vs. Orlando.
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