Kevin Durant has admitted the Brooklyn Nets are missing absent star Kyrie Irving following their third defeat in the new NBA season but is bullish they can turn around their stuttering form.
The Nets were beaten 106-93 by the Miami Heat on Wednesday, their third double-digit defeat leaving them with a 2-3 record.
Durant top scored for the Nets with 25 points along with 11 rebounds, while James Harden continues to work into the season, with 14 points.
Irving's absence, due to his vaccination status, has been a major talking point for the Nets and with limited contributions from guards Joe Harris (15 points and three reounds) and Patty Mills (four points, three rebounds and five assists) on Wednesday, Durant conceded he was being missed.
"I know what you want me to say," Durant told reporters after the game. "Yeah, we do miss Kyrie. We do. He's a part of our team.
"For the most part we've been generating great shots. We've been getting into the paint. It's a matter of knocking it down. I think it'll come."
Harden's form is another concern for the Nets as he re-discovers his touch after rehabbing from a hamstring injury.
The 2018 NBA MVP, who joined the Nets from the Houston Rockets in January, is averaging 16.6 points, 7.0 rebounds and 8.0 assists per game this season.
Harden has scored 15 or fewer points for the past three games, the first time that has happened since the 2011-12 season.
"I had no opportunities to play pickup or nothing this summer," Harden told reporters. "Everything was rehab for three months, from a Grade 2 injury that happened three times in one season.
"This is my fifth game of trying to just play with competition against somebody else and as much as I want to rush the process and be back to hooping and killing, [you need to] take your time."
Harden shot four-for-12 from the field and hit three-for-eight from beyond the arc against the Heat.
"[I'm] Just getting more confident, being aggressive," Harden said. "It's getting better every single game.
"As much as I want to get back to just [scoring] 30s and 40 points, I can't do that. As much as I want to, obviously I would love to."