Despite an efficient 45 points from Kyrie Irving, the Brooklyn Nets weren't able to overcome a balanced attack from the Dallas Mavericks Thursday night, racking up their fourth-straight loss in the process. It's the longest losing streak the Nets have endured all season, which just adds to the pressure this team is under to live up to the lofty championship expectations laid out for them.
However, as much as people on the outside may be worried about the Nets in the midst of this skid, no one on the roster is super concerned. In fact, Irving and fellow superstar Kevin Durant welcomed the losing streak.
"I'm glad it's happening now for us instead of in a couple weeks, and hopefully we build off of this and keep growing," Durant said following a poor 7-21 shooting performance. "I hope we feel this pain from losing, feeling like we're not where we want to be. I like this position for us, and I think it's gonna make us better."
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Irving, who tried everything in his power to will Brooklyn to a win over Dallas Thursday night, echoed his teammate's sentiments.
"It's about time we got tested in terms of just having to think the game on a different level, knowing that teams are shaping up for the playoffs," Irving said. "And we've done our best to make sure that we're ready to play, but now we've got to think the game going up against some of these good teams, especially on the road."
Well, if two of the three stars on this team aren't super worried about this current losing streak, then maybe we shouldn't either, right Steve Nash?
"There's not a ton of panic. We've made the playoffs and we're getting healthy at the right time. Now what can we do," Nash said following his team's loss. "How can we grow? How can we put the pieces of this puzzle together to make us as strong as possible in as short a period of time as possible so we're giving ourselves the best chance to succeed when the playoffs come around?"
As calm as the Nets want to be about this situation, there is at least some reason to be concerned with how the Nets finish the season. That latest loss to the Mavericks not only likely puts Brooklyn out of reach of grabbing the No. 1 spot from the Philadelphia 76ers in the East, but it also means they're just a half-game ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks who sit in third behind them.
Falling below second in the East isn't ideal for a team that hasn't been able to establish a ton of continuity between its three stars, as James Harden is still sidelined with a hamstring issue, and both Durant and Irving have missed their fair share of games due to various ailments and personal reasons.
Having that home-court advantage in the second round would be huge for Brooklyn. But if they fall behind the Bucks in the standings, and those two teams meet in the second round, a Game 7 -- if it got to that point -- would take place in Milwaukee. So while it's not time to full-on panic about this team, there are reasons to watch how the rest of the season plays out for the Nets.