Oh, how the NBA changes. It wasn’t long since we were raving about the Brooklyn Nets and how good they’ve been playing with potential All-Star Spencer Dinwiddie at the forefront (and Kyrie Irving injured…).
Come January 9th, the Nets are on their longest losing streak of the season, having lost seven in a row. Since their overtime loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, they’ve lost a further four in a row against the Dallas Mavericks, Toronto Raptors, Orlando Magic and Oklahoma City Thunder: the latter also came in an overtime loss.
On a positive note for the Nets, the loss against the Raptors marked the return of Caris LeVert from two months out with a thumb injury. The loss spelled the fifth loss in a row for the Nets, but head coach Kenny Atkinson was not unnerved by his team’s sudden drop in form.
“When I first started this job,” Atkinson said, “We had 20 wins and were the worst team in the league, so we’ve been through the losing streaks. This will test us, test our character. I have enough confidence in the team. We have to stick with our habits and our principles and trust what we do, and we’ll get out of this.”
Unfortunately, for the Nets, their schedule doesn’t get easier from here on out, it gets much more difficult. In their next seven games, they face the Miami Heat, Utah Jazz, Philadelphia 76ers twice, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers. The Nets are in real danger of slipping out of the playoffs after already sliding to eighth behind the Orlando Magic.
We Finally Hear from Kyrie and Nets Odds vs. Miami
Nets All-Star guard Kyrie Irving addressed reporters for the first time since injuring his right shoulder and spoke of his insistence to avoid surgery by taking cortisone shots.
“I am in a better place now that it has been a significant amount of time,” Irving said. “The next step in any progression was to either get a cortisone shot or to get surgery. That was the ultimatum I was fixed with. Now, I’m just doing the best I can to live off this cortisone and move forward if I need surgery in the future.”
Irving said he and the Nets’ medical staff will revaluate his situation in a month or two to see whether surgery will become necessary.
“A cortisone shot lasts as long as it can. You either continue to get cortisone shots, which is detrimental to your health and your muscles, or you go get arthroscopic surgery,” Irving said. “For me, it’s just about being able to go back out there after the right amount of rehab, the right amount of rest and recovery and see what we can do for the rest of the season and then reevaluate after a few months.”
Their next game at the American Airlines Arena where they take on the Miami Heat who possess the best home form in the NBA with a record of 17-1. The Heat is also third in the East, just one game behind the Boston Celtics in second.
Sportsbooks odds on the Nets becoming just the second team to defeat the Miami Heat at home this season opens at +275. Odds on Miami winning yet again open at -230, according to sportsbooks.