After the Nets beat the league-leading Bucks on Tuesday without Caris LeVert (thigh), Joe Harris (back) and Jarrett Allen (rest), their Bubble Big 3 all returned for the second half of a tough back-to-back against Boston. But it didn’t go well.
The trio had combined for 114 minutes and 83 points in Sunday’s clutch win over Washington. But they mustered just 38 in a 149-115 blowout loss to the Celtics.
Harris wouldn’t use the Nets’ ever-changing lineups and ensuing lack of cohesion as an alibi.
“It’s difficult, but we’re not going to use that as an excuse. We’ve been able to piece it together: We showed it these last couple of games,” Harris said. “We know how we need to play, win or lose, we’re playing the right way. And when we’re moving the ball, we’re competing on both ends, we’re aggressive on both ends, then, you can kind of live with whatever the result is.”
With a magic number of one, the Nets can clinch a playoff berth against the Kings on Friday, or with the Wizards’ next loss.
“As far as level of urgency, I feel like we need to have that each and every night. Obviously it would have been nice to secure that spot tonight, but there’s always another opportunity,” LeVert said. “Friday’s another day, another opportunity for us to go out there and compete for a full 48 minutes as a team. I think we’ll be ready for that task.”
Jamal Crawford was forced out of the Bucks win with an injured left hamstring. He missed Wednesday’s loss and will sit out several more.
“He’ll miss a few games for us,” Jacque Vaughn said. “We’re still assessing on a daily basis; but do look forward to him joining us going forward.”
Jeremiah Martin had a team-high 20 points against Boston. He had 18 in the fourth quarter on 7-of-10 shooting.
“We love what we see from Jeremiah. He’s a young guard, very athletic,” LeVert said. “He’s starting to learn how to play the NBA game, which is different from college or the G League, but it’s very encouraging to see how fast he’s picking things up and I can’t wait to see what he has in store for the future.”
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot was averaging 19.3 points in the restart, shooting .559 overall and .524 from deep. He was team-high plus-24 entering Wednesday, but got held to four points on 1-of-5 shooting.
After going 0-for-5 from deep in four regular season games, Justin Anderson broke out and hit 3-of-5 vs. the Bucks.
“I shot it pretty well in the G League, both in Toronto and Long Island,” Anderson said. “Major credit to Ronnie Burrell who was my G League assistant, helped keep me ready, Shaun Fein as well, those guys down there encouraging me.”
The Celtics were without Kemba Walker, resting on the second night of the Celtics’ own back-to-backs. Jayson Tatum had 19 points despite picking up three fouls in six first-quarter minutes and not playing in the second quarter.