Sports

Nets ‘learn from’ skid, bounce back vs. Nuggets

The Brooklyn Nets ended their longest losing streak of the season, defeating the Denver Nuggets 125-119 in a come-from-behind win on Saturday night in Ball Arena.

The Nets trailed by as many as 21 points in Denver — making it their second-largest comeback of the season. Going into the game against the Nuggets, the Nets had dropped four straight games — losing to the Portland Trail Blazers in Brooklyn before dropping two in Milwaukee to the Bucks and then one to the Mavericks in Dallas.

“We were embarrassed the last few games,” Kyrie Irving said after the game. “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 is when you’re not doing the little things for one another. Moving forward, we just learn from it.”

Brooklyn’s victory allowed the Nets to move a half-game in front of Milwaukee with four games to go in the race for the second seed in the Eastern Conference — and with it, home-court advantage in a potential East semifinal showdown between the two teams. Milwaukee, however, holds the tiebreaker, and both teams remain tied in the loss column.

Coach Steve Nash said that had the Nets lost on Saturday to the short-handed Nuggets, it would’ve “heightened the angst” for his team.

“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, 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 OK with us suffering and being uncomfortable.”

The Nets trailed by double digits at the end of the first quarter in Denver, and by halftime, they were down 71-56. It was the second-most first-half points the Nets have given up this season. In the second half, they allowed just 48 points.

“That second half was who we are and hopefully we build on it,” Kevin Durant said afterward.

The Nets have four games remaining to work through what Nash sees as discomfort and to solidify their playoff seeding. The Nets are hopeful they will get All-Star guard James Harden back before the end of the regular season and will have a few games to build chemistry as a more complete unit..

Still, Nash cautioned against seeing the win over the Nuggets — who were without starters Aaron Gordon and Will Barton, as well as reserves Paul Millsap and Monte Morris — as a permanent turning point.

“I wouldn’t make any grand delineations,” Nash said. “If we really wanted to respond to those four games, we maybe would have had a better start. I thought while we were frustrated as a group in the first half, we found that toughness and resolve in the second half and got it done, and we’ll just move on. There’s no guarantees you’re gonna win the next game.”

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