The NBA decreased the number of back-to-back games played by each team this season, but the Nets still haven’t had much success in those situations.
Following their uplifting overtime win in Boston on Tuesday, the Nets returned home with a clunker Wednesday night against Memphis, losing by 39 points to fall to 2-7 in the second half of back-to-back games this season.
“Obviously, back-to-backs are tough … but everyone goes through it in this league,” Joe Harris said. “There’s teams that have a lot of success in the back-to-back, and I think those teams just have a strong mental fortitude.
“There’s sort of this saying, ‘Fatigue makes cowards of us all,’ and everybody’s tired in the NBA at this point. So regardless of being on the back-to-back, this late in the season you’ve got to be able to grind through it.”
According to NBA.com, the league average was reduced to 12.4 back-to-backs per team this season, down from 13.3 in 2018-19 and 36 percent below the average of 19.3 from five years ago.
The Nets (27-34) have two more sets of back-to-backs this season — next Thursday and Friday against Golden State and the Clippers, and March 27-28 against Orlando and Cleveland.
The Nets sank just 30 of 90 field-goal attempts against Memphis and 16.7 percent (7-for-42) from long distance against the Grizzlies, but Spencer Dinwiddie believes the answer lies at the other end of the court.
“Honestly, we just have to be better, right? It starts defensively,” Dinwiddie said. “The more consistent we can be defensively, the offense will take care of itself. If we can get stops and force some turnovers, then we can get out in transition and get some easy baskets. We’re not doing that and have to play in the half-court, which is obviously harder for any offense in the league. Every offense is better in transition than in half-court. So I would say it starts there.”
Harris on Kenny Atkinson’s team meeting after Wednesday’s loss: “Kenny talked to us as a team, guys on the team spoke up. You can always control your demeanor, your attitude, those sorts of things and how you play, and that’s probably the lowest we’ve had for each one of those intangibles this season. … We dissected it and discussed it. I think everybody in here, at the end of the day, we’re all competitors. We’re all upset with how this played out, and it’s gonna sit [Thursday] and then you hope Friday, you’re gonna bring it against a good San Antonio team.”