Nets ‘climbing uphill all game’ due to Bucks’ extra possessions in blowout loss

James Harden contest layup Bucks black uniform

James Harden contest layup Bucks black uniform

The Nets suffered a 23-point loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday to tip off their season, with Brooklyn trailing virtually wire-to-wire.

And while the defending champion Bucks are obviously an extremely talented team, Kevin Durant and James Harden spoke afterwards about the hustle stats playing a huge role in the loss.

Milwaukee took 21 more shots than the Nets, thanks in part to 14 offensive rebounds and a willingness to take control of most 50-50 balls.

“Tonight they shot [21] more shots than us, and it was that way since the first quarter, so we were climbing uphill all game,” Durant said. “We had good spurts, cut it to seven, cut it to eight a few times, but we just couldn’t get over the hump because they had more possessions than us, they created more offense for themselves with offensive rebounds. They had like five of them in one possession.

«We didn’t turn them over. I think they had seven turnovers … Possession game is a battle for us, with all the other stuff. Rotations and rhythm and all that stuff will come, but we can’t give a team 20 more shots than us. Imagine coming into a game and we say ‘Here, take the ball 20 times on offense before we get an offensive possession.’ Everybody’s going to lose that. That’s what it felt like the game was today.”

Harden echoed Durant’s comments, pointing to the disparity in shot attempts as the main reason the Bucks were able to control the game.

“It’s our rebounding, 50-50 balls that they got basically all of them tonight that led to open threes,” Harden said. “They shot [13] more threes than us, so we’ve just got to get the ball up. We’ve got to get shots up, shots at the rim, because when we do, we’re a really good team.

“I feel like every time we got close, things didn’t go our way for whatever reason and they capitalized on it every single time. So, it was a good test for us tonight. Now we’ve got to be ready for Friday’s game.”

But even with the opening night loss, the Nets know it’s only one game, and there’s a long road ahead as this roster continues to build chemistry and learns to bring out the best of its talent.

“It is one game out of 82 of them, look at it that way. Every team feels that way, you know what I’m saying? The Bucks won today but they’re still trying to fine-tune what they do, too,” Durant said. “I think every team in the league is going to look at their first few games, first few weeks, and see where their team is going and then make adjustments.”