New year, same Nets?

The Brooklyn Nets continued a troubling pattern of failing to beat a contending NBA team with their 121-109 loss to Milwaukee at the Barclays Center on Friday night. The Nets, who lost as many as 24 points in one stage, are now 0-8 on the season against the best teams.

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Brooklyn has now lost five straight games at the Barclays Center, and four of the last five overall. Their last home win was against the Sixers on December 16.

“I don’t expect us to have a huge home advantage if we play shitty basketball.” Kevin Durant said after the game.

If the Nets want to compete for a championship, they will have to start winning some of these games against other championship-seeking teams. After the loss to Milwaukee, which was not as close as the score might indicate, the second-year head coach Steve Nash was asked which intangibles have been lost this season.

“Whatever,” he said.

What’s more concerning for the Nets is that, of the games played against ‘top-tier competition,’ they lost six of eight by double digits, and one of the single-digit losses (Phoenix) were down by until 22 before making a late run when the game was practically over.

Losses include two against Chicago, and now two against Milwaukee.

Durant finished with 29 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, but James Harden had a poor shooting night, finishing with just 16 points (6 of 15 from the field), nine rebounds and seven assists.

Harden, whom the Nets will need to produce to help offset Kyrie Irving’s part-time status, has an effective field goal percentage of just 40.7% against top teams.

The Nets need some answers to these questions soon.

What was once a clear favorite team to win the East has now slipped to third place in the Conference, just one game ahead of Miami in fourth place. Brooklyn has a home game against the Spurs on Sunday, before traveling to Portland.

His first chance to play one of the top eight with Kyrie Irving will be next Wednesday in Chicago. Nothing short of an impressive victory will do.