Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant wasn’t happy with his team’s performance against the Los Angeles Clippers on New Years Day. Despite being extremely shorthanded, the Clippers pulled out a 120-116 victory over the Nets to start off the new year. The Clippers outscored the Nets 40-29 in the fourth quarter of the contest, and afterwards, Durant sounded off on Brooklyn’s attitude and energy, or lack thereof.
“We just relaxed too much,” Durant said of the loss, via ESPN. “We get up 10, miss a layup or turn the ball over, and they get a fast break, give up a 3, straight-line drive — like coach [Steve Nash] said, we didn’t deserve to win this game. We came in here with a f—ed-up attitude. Thinking we were just going to walk into a W.
“It’s natural when a team is missing so many players,” Durant added. “They’re going through so much over there. [We] relaxed. You don’t think you could lose an NBA game like this. They’re missing how many guys? They’re playing guys that are up from the G League. Xavier Moon came in and hit some shots for them. Keon Johnson, James Ennis — they all made an impact I felt on the game, and I think we came in too chill to start.”
Lessons are often learned in losses, and Durant is hopeful that will be the case for the Nets, who have slipped to second behind the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference standings.
“Hopefully a loss like this, it’s in your brain,” Durant said. “Go out there and understand what your job is as an individual and how you can be the best at that job and how you can bring it to the collective. It’s always about the collective. So if you ain’t feeling like s— after this game, then you got to look yourself in the mirror.”
If the Nets aren’t able to learn from the loss against L.A., though, Durant expects repeat performances.
“We’re going to continue to get our ass kicked if we don’t approach the game in the proper way,” Durant said. “It’s about the group. It’s about how we’re going to come out here and be the best that we can each possession.”
On paper, the Nets are one of the most talented teams in the entire league. But in a league where every team has talent, the Nets aren’t going to be able to coast through on talent alone, and that’s the point Durant was trying to get across.