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Nets have sold their defensive soul to the devil for James Harden, stats show

James Harden, Nets

The Brooklyn Nets received a dynamic scorer with the addition of James Harden via a recent blockbuster trade. However, they seem to have weakened their defense with the departure of Jarrett Allen, Caris LeVert, and Rodions Kurucs in exchange for the services of the 2018 NBA MVP.

With a significant lack of role players on their side, the Nets reportedly allowed 119.4 points per 100 possessions which accounts for the third-worst defensive rating in the league, via Tommy Beer.

On the other hand, another New York team in the Knicks proved to be significantly better on the defensive side of the floor as they only allowed just 93.8 points per 100 possessions in a span of four games.

Since the arrival of James Harden, the Nets have tallied a 2-2 record. They snagged impressive wins against the Orlando Magic and the Milwaukee Bucks but lost two consecutive outings against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Their two-game road trip to Ohio coincided with Kyrie Irving’s return to the team after a seven-game absence.

The Nets absorbed a 147-135 loss in the first encounter against the Cavaliers as they failed to contain Collin Sexton who exploded with 42 points, five rebounds, and five assists.

In the following game, the Nets headed to the game without Kevin Durant who sat out to receive treatment for his Achilles injury. Irving came out with a huge performance of 38 points and five rebounds but it wasn’t enough to get back at the Cavaliers as they lost on a 125-113 defeat.

The Nets are now holding a 9-8 record for the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference. Head coach Steve Nash and his squad will aim to end their two-game losing skid as they face the struggling Miami Heat on Jan. 23.