Brooklyn Nets star guard Kyrie Irving described the two consecutive losses to the Cleveland Cavaliers as a "humbling experience." The Nets, who traded for 2018 NBA MVP James Harden last week, were heavily favored in each of back-to-back games against the Cavaliers but still lost both games.
On Wednesday, the Big Three -- Irving, Harden and Kevin Durant -- shared the floor for the first time together but failed to get a win as the Cavaliers won 147-135 in double overtime. On Friday -- the Nets who were playing without Durant but still favored to beat the Cavaliers -- lost 125-113.
"This was two humbling losses," Irving said after the Nets lost the second consecutive game to Cavs, per ESPN. One of the keys in the Nets' loss to the Cavaliers was their inabiilty to defend the paint. On Wednesday, the Cavaliers scored 64 points in the paint, before scoring 70 points in the paint two days later.
"That's a lot of points in the paint," said Harden, who finished with 19 points and 11 assists. "Offensive rebounds happen, layups happen, good things doesn't happen when the ball gets in the paint, and tonight we allowed that too much."
Former teammates beat Irving, Durant and Harden
Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince -- two players that were part of the Harden trade -- scored 19 points and 14 points, respectively. "You wish that it wasn't against you," Nets guard Joe Harris said of Prince's and Allen's performances, "but obviously you're happy for those guys."
Nets head coach Steve Nash acknowledged that the team has got to find ways to perform better on each side of the floor. "We just need to find a way to play harder," Nash said. "Dig deeper. We are not a defensive roster.
We have to take more pride, contest more shots, fight, scrap, claw, and that's what I think is missing as much as anything schematic that we're breaking down." Meanwhile, Nets center DeAndre Jordan suggested can't get too down on thesemlves early in the game.
"We can't get too down on ourselves or panic early," Jordan said. "Even though a lot of people want us to panic. Rome wasn't built in a day. Championship teams weren't built in a day. They've gone through struggles.
So we've got to be able to take this on the chin and learn from it and ultimately come back and respond tomorrow and for the rest of the season."