What’s next for Nets after season-best winning streak snapped?

Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets
Jan 4, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) is defended in the first half by Chicago Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu (12) and Patrick Williams (44) at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

“Take this one on the chin like a man and get ready.”

Kyrie Irving encapsulated the Brooklyn Nets‘ mindset after their 12-game winning streak ended in Chicago with a 121-112 loss to the desperate Bulls Wednesday night at the start of a three-game road trip.

Durant had a brilliant 44-point effort as he tried to rally the Nets but their slow start was too much to overcome.

“To be honest with you, 40 points in the first quarter is a lot. Especially when you’re playing against teams that are trying to find their rhythm over their last few games. We knew coming in [Wednesday night] that Chicago was going to be somewhat of a desperate team and want to get back into a great position in the standings. So we put ourselves in a hole in our first and second quarter coming into halftime. Obviously KD being special but he can only do so much on his own.”

Kyrie Irving postgame via NBA.com

The Nets’ defense was never ready at the start, allowing the Bulls to shoot an incredible 73.9 percent from the field en route to a 40-point first-quarter explosion. The Nets dug an 18-point hole in the second quarter and never came closer than within three.

Irving added 25 points, while Seth Curry came off the bench to score 22. But the rest of the team only combined for 21 points on 9 of 34 shooting.

The law of averages finally caught up with the Nets.

So what’s next for the Nets?

“That’s what the great thing about this [winning streak], we have shown how to respond after a win. And we just kept winning. Now, how do we respond after a loss? That’s why you don’t get too high, or too low in this thing, and you get ready to play the next game.”

Jacque Vaughn postgame via NBA.com

The Nets will try to start another winning streak against the Zion Williamson-less New Orleans Pelicans on Friday before wrapping up this road trip in Miami against the Heat on Sunday.

Durant is confident of the Nets’ direction despite the loss.

“We understand how we want to play every night. I feel like the league is always on notice with the talent we have on our team. Nobody takes us for granted when they prepare for us each night. But we found some things that were good for us on both ends of the floor and we want to just be consistent with executing those things as we move forward.

So, it’s good to have winning streaks, but we were more concerned with how we play and what we’re doing to produce the win and I think we are walking in the right direction.”

Kevin Durant postgame via NBA.com

Those things that worked for them during their winning streak, such as their defensive and rebounding effort, were lacking Wednesday night.

The Bulls, who snapped a two-game losing skid, capitalized and punished the Nets’ lack of size in the perimeter and interior. The Bulls shot 9 of 20 in the midrange while the frontcourt tandem of Nikola Vucevic and Patrick Williams wreaked havoc inside the paint with a combined 43 points and 18 rebounds.

Was it just a blip or the start of a trend in the wrong direction for the Nets?

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