Sitting at 10-21 and staring another blowout loss in the face, the Brooklyn Nets were down 17 points at the Oklahoma City Thunder in the third quarter. It would be easy for this team to just welt under this sizable deficit against a terrific team and having recently lost All-Star center Brook Lopez to a season-ending injury.
However, something changed at that point.
The Brooklyn Nets showed some resiliency. They showed some heart that they haven't shown all season. They did not quit and they fought hard to get back in that game and win it on a Joe Johnson game-winning shot. Brooklyn finally started to play as a team and players were starting to understand their roles on the team.
A three-game road trip that began with two blowout defeats ended with an improbably victory that has helped Brooklyn start to turn its season around.
So, how has that happened? Everything has changed for Jason Kidd's ballclub.
A team filled with proud veterans started to actually play like a team. They went on a five-game win streak that ended in a defeat to the Toronto Raptors on Saturday night. Even despite that defeat it's clear to see how everything is drastically different from just a few weeks ago.
During that win streak, the Nets won at the Thunder, then came home to a four game home-stand and beat the Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks, Golden State Warriors and Miami Heat. The last three victories came without Deron Williams, who is nursing a sore ankle.
Their defense really stepped up. They held those opponents to an average of 90.8 points per game. Those team's include players like Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and LeBron James. Those guys are pretty good.
Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce have all played major parts in the team's turnaround. Johnson has been the team's top scorer, Pierce their best playmaker and Garnett has brought the intensity on the defensive end along with making some timely shots against the Heat.
Shaun Livingston has been huge in place of Deron Williams. Livingston had one of his best game's as a pro against the Heat.
Also, is it any coincidence that this win streak has happened with the return of Andrei Kirilenko? His versatility, skill, hustle and overall basketball smart's have been huge for the Net's. He's the type of player that opponents hate to play against because he does all the little things to help you win games.
(Part Two Tomorrow)
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