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Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving blow it in ‘careless’ Nets loss

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The Nets shot the hell out of the ball Sunday. Problem is they still haven’t learned to value it. Or early-season wins.

First Kyrie Irving then Kevin Durant missed potential winners in the waning seconds, but that wasn’t what cost the Nets in a 123-122 loss to Washington. It was their turnovers — most of them by their dominant duo — that came back to bite them in a game they gave away as much as the Wizards won.

The highlights will show the Nets, down by one, getting two clean looks and missing both. Irving’s 3-pointer rimmed out with 5.9 seconds to play, and after Durant got an offensive rebound off a back-tap, he missed a 12-foot pull-up with 1.5 seconds left.

The highlights won’t show Brooklyn allowing 23 more shots, a 17-4 Wizards edge in second-chance points and being on the wrong side of a 20-7 turnover deficit. No, those are the lowlights the Nets will rue — and need to fix.

“Just uncharacteristic, careless. I didn’t think there [were] a lot of turnovers under great pressure,” said Steve Nash. “A lot of them were just strange ones. A bit of this, a bit of that. Careless.

“It wasn’t like we were being pressured in turning the ball over. It was just simple mistakes. It’s something we’ve got to definitely clean up. You can’t, obviously, have a 23-shot deficit and win. And having said that, we had two looks at it to win.”

The looks came from the stars the Nets would’ve wanted. And Irving did pour in a game-high 30 points, 10 assists and five rebounds, while Durant had 28 points, 11 boards and seven assists. They led an offense that shot 49.4 percent overall and 43.8 percent from deep, but they were as sloppy as anyone.

Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant scored 28 points, but missed the final shot of the Nets’ loss to the Wizards.
Robert Sabo

“They shot 23 more shots than us, even though we outrebounded them, we had 20 turnovers. I had six turnovers. I’m turning the ball over too much,” said Durant, who has tried to do too much too quickly.

“We’re trying to be aggressive to make plays, and sometimes we’re a little overzealous. … Sometimes, you’ve got to find a balance between when to shoot and when to pass. … I can live with two or three, but six of them are too much for me, and I’ve got to just tone it down if we want to be successful.”

Irving’s five gave the Nets’ duo 11 in total, handing Washington easy points in a game that was ultimately decided by just one.

“It’s just basketball, flow of the game. [During the] last two games, we haven’t been taking care of the ball really well. So just some carry-over. We’ll clean it up,” said Irving.

“We’re not trying to make the simple pass, we’re trying to make the pass,” said Jarrett Allen. “It’s just us slowing down, taking our time and making the right plays.”

There were a dozen lead changes and five ties in the fourth quarter alone.

It was knotted at 119 before Durant’s free throw put the Nets ahead. A bucket by Bradley Beal left Brooklyn down, 121-120, and when they forced a miss by Russell Westbrook (24 points), Durant snatched the rebound and hit Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot for a go-ahead layup with 28.2 seconds remaining.

Brooklyn forced a miss from Beal (27 points), but Thomas Bryant grabbed the board and his put-back dunk left them trailing, 123-122, with 14.9 to go in regulation. The misses by Durant and Irving kept it that way.

“It’s just taking time. And it’s not going to be put together overnight, nor am I expecting it to, nor am I going to get frustrated over [seven] games,” said Irving. “… The object of this regular season is to continue to get better and to prepare for the 16 wins in the playoffs.”

The Nets (3-4) have dropped four out of five.

“It’s good to get a little tension,” said Nash. “We’ve got to get comfortable being uncomfortable, so here we are. We’re a little uncomfortable, and it can help us grow.”

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