‘It’s been an Achilles heel for us’

Bam Adebayo rebound over Patty Mills

The Nets fell to the Miami Heat, 106-93, on Wednesday night, and one look at the rebounding column in the stat sheet explains what went wrong for the home team.

The Heat were more physical than the Nets all night long, and as a result, they outrebounded Brooklyn, 70-45, including a 17-4 edge on the offensive glass.

After the game, head coach Steve Nash pointed to the Nets needing to rebound as a team to make up for their lack in size.

“We’ve talked about it a lot. It’s an Achilles heel for us, giving up offensive rebounds,” Nash said. “We’ve got to keep working and it’s just got to continue to be a priority, but obviously tonight 17 is way too many.

“It’s just got to be a priority. You’ve just got to want it. You’ve got to make it a priority. You can’t be leaning down the other end of the court. We’ve all got to be coming back in and we’ve got to gang rebound. We’re going to give up size to a lot of teams. It’s important for us to be really diligent and get in there and not give away a bunch of possessions where we’re all leaning out to offense before we’ve got the ball.”

The Nets were without starting center Nic Claxton, who missed the game with a non-Covid illness. So they went small with Blake Griffin starting at the five, but they were outmuscled by the Heat, including Jimmy Butler, who had a game-high 14 boards.

“Obviously with personnel, if we had a bunch of leading rebounders it won’t be an issue. But since we don’t have the personnel that’s just naturally gonna clean up the glass, we’ve got to all come in and gang rebound,” said Nash. “We can’t have two, three guys backpedaling down the other end of the floor watching the ball, get banged around in there. We’ve got to come back and help and hit. Tonight we definitely got out-rebounded in a big way and that was the difference in the game.”

Aside from their rebounding woes, the Nets also shot the ball poorly overall, going 38.8 percent from the floor and 32.6 percent from beyond the arc.

“I know what you want me to say,” Kevin Durant said when asked about the offense’s lack of rhythm this season. “Yeah, we do miss Kyrie (Irving). We do. He’s a part of our team, but for the most part we’ve been generating great shots, we’ve been getting into the paint. It’s just a matter of us knocking them down. I think it will come.”


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