Nets must maintain energy to avoid getting ‘punked’ again

Nets center Nic Claxton certainly isn’t mincing words, and neither is interim coach Kevin Ollie.

They have revenge in mind.

The Nets’ waning playoff ambitions may also require it.

After a brief return to Brooklyn on a five-game road trip, the Nets will travel to Orlando to face the Magic on Wednesday.

Nets center Nic Claxton (33) looks for a shot between Orlando Magic guard Joe Ingles (7) and guard Cole Anthony. Associated Press

Just two weeks ago, the Nets Defeated by the Magic 108-81 It was one of their least competitive and embarrassing games of the season.

This is Ollie’s fourth game in charge since taking over from Jacques Vonn.

“We were kind of outplayed the last game,” Claxton said after practice Tuesday afternoon. “They just had more energy than us. If you don’t have energy when you play in the NBA, you’re not going to win games, so we’re going to have to Bring in the right energy and focus on the game plan. … It’s here [multiple seasons]”When you keep winning games and then you come out and lose and the other team is smiling, you hate to see that. So you definitely take it personally.”

Lack of energy and effort has become a recurring problem For most of the season, Ollie and other players immediately called it back after a loss to the Magic on February 27.

Nets interim head coach Kevin Ollie gestures during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers
Kevin Ollie wants revenge on the Magic after they beat the listless Nets. Associated Press

But the loss also served as a wake-up call, as the Nets followed up with back-to-back impressive wins over the Hawks that put them within striking distance of the 10th seed and final play-in spot.

That didn’t last long, however, as the Nets lost three of their next four games to the NBA’s bottom-placed Grizzlies, Pistons, and Hornets (with a win over the 76ers).

However, their spark resurfaced on Sunday as the Nets defeated the short-handed Cavaliers 120-101, and they will need to play on Wednesday.

3 1/2 games into Tuesday, really Can’t disappear anymore.

“[The Magic] “We didn’t fight back that game,” Ollie said Tuesday. “But I think our guys are resilient. They’ll bounce back, they did, but now we have to be more consistent in our efforts… and that can’t be shaken from game to game. …The biggest challenge now is continuing.

“I think we’re going to have the mentality to carry that forward. We’ll see, but I really believe this team has the mentality to get better every day and we’re going to carry that mentality into the road trip.”

In addition to his effort and energy, Claxton will be crucial to the Nets’ revenge.

The Magic have one of the best and most promising frontcourts in the league in Pablo Bangalore, Franz Wagner and Wendell Carter Jr. They averaged 22.8, 20.1 and 11.6 points per game respectively.

As the defensive main force of the Nets One of the best rim protectors in the league, How Claxton performs against them will go a long way in determining the Nets’ success.

“They have a lot of young players,” Claxton said. “They’re well-coached. The defense is top five. [in defensive rating]”They do a really good job of putting a lot of pressure on the rim. You really have to protect your yard and they have a lot of different players that can go out and score 20-plus points.”

In addition to slowing them down on defense, the Nets will need Claxton to punish them on offense.

A free agent after the season, Claxton has started to explode offensively in recent games.

He’s averaging 16.6 points per game over the past five games, up from 12.3 points per game this season.

“I think [Claxton] “To unlock, I don’t want him to be in the paint on offense,” Ollie said. “I want him to do a variety of things on the court because he does everything for us on the defensive end – blocks, rebounds. We need to get the ball to him, but he also needs to demand the ball. That’s what I told us Guard, “We have to reward the big man because he does a lot of cleaning up for us on the defensive end.” He does have two feet in the paint, and he’s established and he should get the ball. “

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