Durant calls for Nets to show urgency after third straight defeat

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  • Brooklyn Nets
    Brooklyn Nets
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  • Kevin Durant
    Kevin Durant
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  • Ja Morant
    Ja Morant
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Kevin Durant questioned the intensity shown by the Brooklyn Nets after they suffered a home defeat to the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Nets lost for a third game running on Monday, with Ja Morant starring for the Grizzlies at Barclays Center.

Morant scored a game-high 36 points as the Grizzlies won 118-104, claiming a fifth consecutive victory.

While Memphis had five players in double figures for points, the Nets relied on the shooting prowess of Durant and fellow star James Harden.

Durant led the way with 26 points, three rebounds and six assists, with Harden adding a further 19 points, four rebounds and eight assists, but other than Nic Claxton (11), no other Brooklyn player had above 10 points.

Now 23-12 and behind the Chicago Bulls at the top of the Eastern Conference, the Nets have to recover before facing the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.

Durant said Brooklyn "relaxed too much" after the defeat to a depleted Los Angeles Clippers team last time out, and the 11-time All-Star put Brooklyn's latest defeat down to a lack of urgency.

"It's about coming into the games with a sense of urgency on both ends of the floor," Durant told reporters. "Making the correct play on both ends of the floor."

Memphis Grizzlies 118-104 Brooklyn Nets
Memphis Grizzlies 118-104 Brooklyn Nets

While Durant's frustration with the Nets' performance was evident, he was full of praise for the game's star performer Morant.

The 22-year-old leads the Grizzlies for points per game (25.1), and assists per game (6.7), while his 5.7 rebounds per game ranks him second in Memphis' roster.

Morant's field goal percentage of 49.2 is up on his previous seasons (47.7 in 2019-20 and 44.9 in 2020-21), while he is well on course for a career-best points tally.

"He's just controlling the game," Durant said of Morant.

"He's always been an efficient player who can run the point guard spot, he's developed into a major scorer as well. He just plays with a great pace out there, plays with joy and enthusiasm, and you see him blossoming in front of our eyes.

"Since college, he's been on this trajectory. As a basketball fan, you can't wait to see what he's like in years going forward."

It was a sentiment echoed by Morant's team-mate Desmond Bane, who contributed 29 points to the Grizzlies' score.

"People will debate whether or not [Morant] should be an All-Star," Bane said of Morant. "I think we should be debating whether or not he's the best point guard in the league."

For his part, Morant believes Memphis are finally getting the respect they deserve.

"Since I [came] here, I've been saying we deserve more respect," Morant said. "The stuff we're doing now, obviously that recognition and everything will come."

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