Nash questions players after Nets slump to Pistons

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Steve Nash tore into his depleted Brooklyn Nets side Tuesday as their losing streak continued with defeat to the lowly Detroit Pistons.

The Nets -- with Kevin Durant absent due to Covid-19 protocols -- once again put in another abject defensive display as the Pistons, bottom of the Eastern Conference, romped to a 122-111 home win.

It marked the seventh straight game that the Nets have shipped 120 points or more, an unwanted new record for a franchise with designs on becoming an NBA powerhouse following the signing of James Harden last month.

The Pistons dominated from the outset, racing into a 38-26 lead in the first quarter and never relinquishing their grip on the contest thereafter. The Pistons led by 20 at one stage in the second quarter.

A downcast Nash questioned his players' mentality following the loss.

"We can't start the game down 10 points, down 20 points in the second (period), expecting it to come easy," Nash said.

"This is professional sports. The other team is talented and capable and we're shorthanded. We've got to come out extremely sharp, extremely competitive and with real fire. It takes us being down by 20 points to find that fire."

Nash accused his players of lacking fight for most of the game, saying they had only shown it in flashes.

- 'Lot to clean up' -

"If you come to the gym, you've got to want to fight with your team-mates and make it extremely hard for the other team, make them miserable, and we didn't do that. We've got a lot to clean up.

"I think our team needs to challenge themselves to figure out who they want to be. What they want to represent. A certain amount of that comes down to team-building within the locker room, and deciding if they want to come together and be a force, or whether that's not so important.

"And I think right now they're being tested about whether they want to become that team -- tough, connected, and competitive every single night."

Nash meanwhile played down apparent tensions between members of the Nets squad. At one stage Harden and DeAndre Jordan appeared to be locked in an animated discussion on the sideline.

"It's an emotional sport," Nash said. "We find ourselves in a hole, then you get a little emotional. But I don't think we get there if we come out with the correct intensity."

Kyrie Irving led the Nets scoring with 27 points while Harden added 24 points with 12 assists. Jeff Green and Landry Shamet were the only other Nets players to make double figures, with 10 points apiece.

The Pistons meanwhile were sparked by 32 points from Jerami Grant, who went 11-of-19 from the field and made four three-pointers.

Point guard Delon Wright had 22 points with nine assists, while Saddiq Bey (15 points), Mason Plumlee (14) and Josh Jackson also posted double-digit tallies.

The Nets fell to 14-12 with the loss and remain in fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings, while the Pistons improved to 6-18.