ATLANTA — Battle or fold.

That’s the selection Jacque Vaughn has put in entrance of his Nets.

The humiliating loss Friday in Chicago was the worst beating the Nets have taken in nearly 20 years. They usually get lower than two days to recuperate from it.

“How are we going to react after this? Are we going to fold? Or are we going to prepare for the following one and be higher?” Mikal Bridges stated of Vaughn’s message. “I believe everybody in that locker room shouldn’t be going to fold, and we’re all going to be higher. It begins with [Saturday], and we’re all going to be taught from it, watch movie and take a look at to determine who we’re and what we will do higher and prepare for Atlanta.”

The Nets will enter their recreation Sunday on the Hawks nonetheless stinging from the 131-87 pasting by the hands of the Bulls. That 44-point remaining margin was the fourth-most lopsided loss in crew historical past and their worst since Dec. 13, 2003.

“I’m trying ahead to how we’ll reply,” Vaughn stated. “However it’s going to be a check of our collective unit, doing every thing you presumably can each single day — off days, restoration days — to be able to give your all to your crew.

The Nets will attempt to bounce again from one in every of their worst losses in franchise historical past.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Publish

“And it’s acquired to be unconditional, too. It’s not, ‘If I play this quantity of minutes, if I get this quantity of pictures.’ It’s a must to be an unconditional teammate right now of 12 months, as a result of groups are enjoying for place, groups are enjoying to get into the playoffs. So you can not have nights like [Friday] the place we play this unhealthy.”

“This unhealthy” doesn’t start to explain how poor the Nets had been. They’ve been blown out by 43, 18 and 44 factors of their final three highway video games, which is worrisome with the lean at Atlanta looming.

“It’s going to be a real check. And never solely the basketball piece, however the character piece of serving to your teammate out and leaning into being an important teammate,” Vaughn stated. “In order that problem of pulling for the man that’s subsequent to you — you may not be getting minutes, and he is likely to be getting minutes greater than you — that’s the place we’re at as a bunch.

“I stated that to the group, this isn’t going to be a one-man present. We don’t have the one-man present. It’s going to be a collective unit. We’ve acquired to grasp that and method the sport that approach and play with a nastiness about us in the beginning of the sport to set a tone of aggressiveness. … So it’s an unlucky lesson for us; I hope we be taught the lesson extraordinarily fast.”

As in by 3 p.m. Sunday.

The Nets traded their two-man present of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving earlier than the deadline, then stumbled badly Friday evening of their first recreation out of the All-Star break. They had been outrebounded by 26 and trailed by as many as 50 factors.

Chicago Bulls' Patrick Beverley passes the ball past Brooklyn Nets' Mikal Bridges during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Feb. 24, 2023, in Chicago. The Bulls won 131-87.
Bridges stated everybody within the Nets locker room isn’t going to fold following the abysmal loss.
AP Photograph/Charles Rex Arbogast

“Yeah, the hassle must be there,” Nic Claxton stated. “We all know now we have to play extraordinarily laborious. We’re not going to be probably the most proficient crew on the court docket each evening, so now we have to surpass the opposite crew’s effort. And we didn’t do this. Throughout it was only a horrible recreation.”

Bridges, Spencer Dinwiddie and Dorian Finney-Smith had been all acquired within the trades of Durant and Irving, however have already taken on management roles. So when Vaughn purposely allow them to stew for a bit longer than regular Friday — giving them further time to debate the error of their methods — they had been amongst those that spoke up within the locker room.

“I believe all people had opinions on what went mistaken. Royce [O’Neale] spoke up, a number of guys spoke up, Mikal, Do’, myself,” Dinwiddie stated. “That’s a part of it in any postgame. Simply understanding the truth that a 40-point beatdown is unacceptable for sure, All-Star break or not.”

“All of us knew we needed to be higher and simply talked about how now we have to be higher on each ends. … All of us, as a unit, know you’ll be able to’t play like this if you wish to win, so we simply should be higher,” Bridges stated. “There’s solely 20-something video games left, so now we have to search out who we’re quickly.”