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Steve Nash benches entire Brooklyn Nets starting lineup in blowout loss

Vincent Frank

The Brooklyn Nets dropped their third consecutive game Monday evening against the Memphis Grizzlies — all at home.

Steve Nash’s squad found itself down 96-73 after the third quarter. That’s when the head coach decided to bench his entire starting lineup for the final stanza, James Harden and Kevin Durant included.

We’re not kidding.

Instead, the Brooklyn Nets went with Jevon Carter, Bruce Brown, David Duke Jr., Cam Thomas and Day’Ron Sharpe. That group went on a 23-12 run to open the fourth quarter, leading to Nash keeping his starters on the bench.

The performances of Harden and Durant in what ended up being a 118-104 loss also came into question for Brooklyn.

  • Kevin Durant stats: 8-of-24 shooting, 2-of-8 three-point, 26 points, three rebounds, six assists (-23)
  • James Harden stats: 5-of-14 shooting, 2-of-7 three-point, 19 points, four rebounds, eight assists (-15)

Given how much Brooklyn has relied on these two stars, this just isn’t acceptable. Some watching the game went as far to indicate Harden pretty much quit in the third quarter.

Related: Find out where the Brooklyn Nets stand in Sportsnaut’s NBA power rankings

Brooklyn Nets struggles coincide with return of Kyrie Irving

NBA: Boston Celtics at Brooklyn Nets
Jun 1, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving (11) drives to the basket against Boston Celtics small forward Aaron Nesmith (26) during the first quarter of game five of the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier on Monday, it was reported that Irving is targeting Wednesday’s road outing against the Indiana Pacers as a return to action.

Irving, 29, has sat out the first 35 games of the season after refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Local mandates in New York prevent players from taking to the court if they are not vaccinated. Right now, the plan is for Irving to play every road date while sitting out all games at Barclays Center.

This could be the shot in the arm (pun) intended these Brooklyn Nets need. They are in the midst of a three-game losing streak with home losses against the 76ers and Clippers immediately preceding Monday’s defeat at the hands of the Grizzlies.