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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Brooklyn Nets ace reflects on "toxic environment" as NBA side suffer third-straight loss

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It may have been a third consecutive loss for the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night, but there is a far different outlook compared to the “toxic environment” that dominated the camp last year.

The Nets have finally found their feet after some teething issues that saw Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving miss huge parts of last season for an array of reasons. Irving was out due to his vaccination status, but Durant continued to battle injury problems as the Nets were regularly left short-handed.

Both were absent as the Nets lost 106-98 to San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday through injury, but the squad is optimistic due to the positive performances. The same couldn’t be said with too much confidence last season, and Nets star Mic Claxton has reflected on the struggles they faced.

“Last year, it was kind of a toxic environment,” Claxton said. “We didn’t know if everybody wanted to be here at the time. This year, there’s no divide between everybody that’s out there.

“We’re going to figure it out. We just got to figure out how to play with each other. Without having KD/Kyrie on the court, it’s different line-ups, but we’ll figure it out.”

It definitely wasn’t their best performance against the Spurs, as no player managed to hit 20 points during the game. But with a record of 27-16, they’re still playing well, and Irving is expected to return soon enough. But fellow teammate Ben Simmons thinks that shouldn’t matter, as he doesn’t want to always rely on their best pairing.

Simmons doesn’t want to rely on Durant and Irving

“We have got the guys to do it and we’ve seen that,” Simmons said after the defeat. “I think the guys have to stay poised and stay together and that’s what it is.

“We can’t expect, we can’t rely on Kev and Ky every night. Everyone has to step up and do their job, regardless of who’s going to be starting or who’s playing.”

The Nets have the capabilities of going far this season, and Simmons is right – you can’t just rely on two guys to win games, let alone a championship. But their availability will be integral to any success.

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