CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Nets have closed 2022 with the longest NBA winning streak.
And they ring like legitimate title contenders in 2023. Mainly because they are focused on today and not distracted by tomorrow.
The Nets beat the Hornets 123-106 at Spectrum Center on Saturday night. The win ended all trips of three games. They dispatched the Hornets, went straight to the airport, and flew roughly around the end of New Year’s Eve.
“Really, my message to the group before the game is let’s end the year in the right way. And it’s being taken care of. [this] game,” said director Jack Vaughan. “When we turn the page in 2023, [New Year’s] There will be a solution, but it really is to keep this group here, play today’s game, win today’s game. ”
Thus, the Nets (24-12) extended their winning streak to 11, making it the longest tie of any NBA team since the Suns lost 18 in a row from October 30 to December. February 2, 2021. He drew them within two games of the Celtics. This is the only team in the league with a better record.
As a team, the Six Nets shot 60% and scored in double digits. Either Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving has led the scoring in all but one game this season, and Saturday was no exception. Irving recorded his 28 points, a game-high, and Durant recorded his 23 points. This has always been a cornerstone of the Nets’ success.
“Durant and Irving,” Charlotte coach Steve Clifford said up front. “There are a lot of seasoned veteran guys around them, so they play very smart. But it all starts with these two guys. You can’t defend, that’s what NBA basketball is all about, they’re a super high ISO team, they play a lot one-on-one, they’re good at it.
“Kyrie’s pick and roll, if you double-team him, he’ll crush it. It’s more efficient against double teams in terms of , and they’re surrounded by veterans, very good players with high IQs, and they’re playing with a big purpose. must do all
“You can’t give them a fast-break point or make them go to the free-throw line or make them hit the second shot or score with the cutting basket. They’re so good at everything else, so if you get them So there’s nothing they’re not good at.
Clifford knows what he’s talking about. He spent last season as a consultant for the Nets and is currently working on a rebuild for the Hornets (10-27).
LaMelo Ball had 23 points, 11 assists and 7 rebounds for Charlotte. However, with Kelly Oubre Jr. out, the Nets held the Hornets’ shooting percentage down to 39.6%. Durant and Royce O’Neal overwhelmed Gordon Hayward by two points on 1-of-6 shooting from the floor.
“TRUE [it’s about] Where is our focus and concentration level, totally looking ahead and taking advantage of what is in front of us – and that [this] game,” said Vaughan. “So I’m really looking forward to seeing how our group approaches this game and how we start Q1. Let the games begin.”
The Nets had the right approach from the beginning. Irving found an O’Neal 3-pointer and out of the gate he took an 11-4 lead. The Nets were up 32-22 after he scored 65.2% in the first quarter and held Charlotte to 34.8%.
Nic Claxton posted career highs with 14 points, 6 boards and 6 blocks. He scored from a Durant feed, making him 57-42 with 1:30 left in the half, and a layup 54 seconds into the third quarter extended the advantage to 66-49.
Yuta Watanabe’s second left-corner 3-point shot gave the Nets a cushion at 97-79. With four minutes left in the Irving 3 he went up 118-96 and the Nets took his 15th win in 16 games.