The Nets were their own worst enemy at times this season and the dysfunction and disjointed nature of the club derailed a potential championship winning season. Tip your cap to the Boston Celtics for sweeping the Nets right out of the playoffs. Had Brooklyn kept its own house in order, things may have been vastly different. 

 A defiant Kyrie Irving put his personal beliefs over the priorities of the team and fans by refusing to comply with vaccine mandates, which was well within his rights by the way. James Harden jetted for Philadelphia after Durant went down as he didn't want to deal with a then-part-time Irving and clashed with Steve Nash over offensive philosophy. Kevin Durant missed significant time with a left MCL sprain, logging heavy minutes when healthy to make up for an ineligible Irving then overtaxing himself down the stretch to get the Nets in the best possible playoff situation. 

 Top to bottom, this Nets season was an unmitigated disaster, but a disaster that was preventable. Brooklyn needs to learn its lesson from a lost season and make sure history doesn't repeat itself. The reality is, another year of prime Durant and Irving is in the books without a title to show for it. 

With only a few more runs to make a title push, Brooklyn needs to get its house in order fast. The first order of business will be the free agent status Irving, who wants to remain with the Nets long-term. Next, will be examining whether Nash is the right man for the job, whose body of work so far leaves a lot to be desired. 

There's no sleep in Brooklyn tonight and Sean Marks and Joe Tsai will need to take a hard look in the mirror to retool a flawed by talented roster and shakeup a coaching staff that weathered adversity, but didn't bring out the team's potential.
First round exits are not something Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant envisioned when they coalesced their powers to assemble a super team in Brooklyn. The Nets let two games slip away in Boston, leaving virtually zero margin for error heading back to Barclays Center. Irving and Durant can't rely on Ben Simmons, who hasn't pay competitive NBA basketball for nearly a year, to be the team's savior. Simmons isn't expected to play until Game 4, but not more than 10-15 minutes, according to multiple reports. The Nets have answers to the Celtics defensive game plan, but they're sitting on the bench in the form of LaMarcus Alridge and Blake Griffin. Steve Nash's reluctance to shift away from Durant and Irving isolation ball in favor of team centric offense has been a consistent pattern since he was hired as head coach. Nash could very well be coaching his last series if the Nets are ousted by the Celtics. When all is said and done, the onus falls on Nash's coaching adjustments and Irving and Durant making smart decisions on offense and not playing right into Boston's hands by forcing the issue. The Nets superstars need to come up big when the lights are brightest.
Kevin Durant has made 13 field goals on 41 attempts and 12 turnovers in the first two games against the Boston Celtics. Unsurprisingly, Brooklyn is down 0-2 and squandered a 3-point lead with 46 seconds remaining in Game 1 and a 17 point lead in Game 2. Durant has been outmuscled, knocked off his spots and flat out distributed thusfar. The turnover bug bit the Nets' star throughout the regular season. Whether it's the 43 different starting lineups Steve Nash has used this year, the rotating carousel of the supporting cast members, or simply dumb basketball, Durant is absorbing plenty of blame. Meanwhile his running mate, Kyrie Irving, followed up his masterful 39 point outing on Sunday with an eerily quiet 10-point game. Brooklyn's season is slipping away quickly and a perimeter oriented offense without wing players who attack the rim has left the team exposed. Brooklyn hosts Boston on Saturday looking to get its first win of the series.
Ben Simmons is nearing a potential return. The former Sixer was cleared for contact and played 4 on 4 action on Monday. Simmons' next progression would be full 5-on-5 practice without any setbacks to be cleared to play. Brooklyn travels to take on Boston on Wednesday night and while Nash has all but ruled out Simmons for Game 2, it's appearing more and more likely that Game 3 at Barclays Center is a potential target for his return. The Nets are in dire need of a defender to help contain Jayson Tatum and Simmons is the perfect candidate to fill that team need. Brooklyn trails the series 0-1 after a gut wrenching buzzer beating loss on Sunday, courtesy of a Tatum game winning layup. While the Simmons news is encouraging, the Nets need to first equalize the series on Wednesday to avoid a 0-2 hole before Simmons can even take the court.
The Brooklyn Nets guard heavy lineups are nothing new for Steve Nash, but when it comes at the cost of letting a playoff game slip away, it raises eyebrows. LaMarcus Aldridge and Blake Griffin watched helplessly from the bench while undersized guards Patty Mills, Goran Dragic, Seth Curry and Bruce Brown were bludgeoned on the boards and manhandled by Boston's big men. Brooklyn was out rebounded 43-29 overall and 14 to 3 on the offensive glass with only Nicolas Claxton and Andre Drummond providing any presence in the paint. Not only did Nash opt for a small ball lineup, but he stuck with a switching defense putting grossly undersized defenders in compromising positions and allowing the Celtics second chance possessions. Despite these tactical flaws, the Nets could have and probably should have stolen the series opener. If Brooklyn hopes to turn the tide Wednesday in Game 2, Aldridge and Griffin will need to play a role in the defense and rebounding department. Nash has answers on his roster, but he'll need to summon them from his bench and trust his big men to make a tangible impact.
It's not unusual for Kyrie Irving or Elon Musk to be the focal point of the media's attention, but when both their paths cross in the public space, things reach an entirely new level. This week Musk made a $43 billion bid to buy Twitter, which raised eyebrows across the globe, including Irving's. Musk's supposed plans to privatize Twitter and put the future of the company entirely into the hands of shareholders has drawn concerns that profit, stock price and other factors will supercede freedom of speech. Big tech has been under fire for censoring and even banning certain public figures from joining the discourse on the free, public platform. Irving has been a major proponent of the free speech and advocate of social justice before and through tumultuous times amidst the pandemic. Irving is posing an interesting question regarding how a potential sale to Musk will impact any people with dissenting views, particularly those belonging to marginalized communities. Musk, a business leader and forward-thinking entrepreneur, and Irving, an otherworldly athlete and outspoken social justice advocate, bring intriguing, but contrasting world viewpoints that will hopefully create an open and healthy dialogue regarding big tech and censorship.

 Call in marketing, or call it a simple tease, but anyway you slice it, the Brooklyn Nets are not closing the door on Ben Simmons returning to action during the playoffs. The Nets tweeted out footage of Simmons shooting during practice at the HSS Training Center over the weekend. No, he's not participating in 1-on-1 or 5-on-5 drills, but the development is significant on the dawn of the playoffs.


Previously, head coach Steve Nash indicated he's not counting on Simmons returning in time for the play-in tournament, which begins next Tuesday or even the first round of the playoffs, assuming the Nets advance to that stage.

Brooklyn has been notoriously mum on the injury status of its players and only revealed within the last month that Simmons needed an epidural to calm down the herniated disc that was flaring up in his back.

It's difficult to say whether the Nets are playing cat and mouse games with the media and the rest of the NBA by tweeting out Simmons' progress, but it appears that both the player and the organization are not ruling out a potential return barring any setbacks. 


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