Ten days ago, the Brooklyn Nets flew west one game removed what head coach Steve Nash called a low point of the season, a loss to the Detroit Pistons that was Brooklyn’s third straight.
They’re back home and ready to tip off a three-game home stretch carrying the NBA’s longest active winning streak — six games — after sweeping a five-game West Coast trip that made for the longest single road trip without a loss in franchise history.
“I think we showed toughness, we showed mental toughness and belief and connectivity by continuing on this trip, no matter who was available or what the situation was; down 24 in Phoenix, (gave up) the lead tonight and are tied late,” said Nash. “Overall, just like that toughness that is a non-negotiable if you want to be a great team. And some of that toughness and resolve has to be built. It’s not just something you turn on. So I think that’s what’s really positive, is just showing willingness to win in different ways and willingness to lock in and win games that look different on a night-to-night basis, and that’s important.”
The Nets closed out the trip with wins over three of the top four teams in the Western Conference, the Suns, Lakers, and Clippers. They’re now 5-0 against the top four teams in the West and 8-0 against the eight teams currently in playoff position in the conference.
Over their six-game winning streak, the Nets have an offensive rating of 122.8 — five points per 100 possessions higher than their rate of 117.8 for the full season, which leads the league — and a net rating of 9.3. They’ve shot 50.1 percent overall, 40.5 percent from 3-point range, and posted an effective field goal percentage of 61.4. This has come largely without Kevin Durant, who returned from a health and safety protocol absence for the first game of the road trip, but missed the last four with a hamstring strain.
It began with a 104-94 win over the Indiana Pacers at Barclays Center on Feb. 10. But in some ways, it started the night before when the Nets dropped a road game in Detroit to the Pistons, who have the worst record in the Eastern Conference.
“Well I think I went on quote by saying that we looked very average, so I think everybody kind of took that personally, including myself, and we just used that as motivation and guys came out in that Indiana game and played with effort, and I feel like we’ve continued to do so since then to be able to go out there and do what we say we want to do,” said Kyrie Irving. “We don’t want to talk a good game and say we’re collectively together and united, and we’re not — you could see it on the floor, we weren’t connected at all. Especially going against sub-500 teams that we have a losing record to, and that was embarrassing. So we just want to continue to demand that standard of excellence.
“I know I say it’s just words, but you guys don’t get a chance to be in our locker room all the time, but the preparation is where it starts: walkthroughs, being able to do the little things, remember the details to throw out there and just play your game with a structure in mind. We need structure. NBA players, entertainers, anybody out there, we need structure to be able to succeed at the highest level, and that’s why you see the best teams have coaches that coach the (heck) out of the players, and guys that go out there and do it.”
Brooklyn opened up the trip with offensive showcases that put a spotlight on the growing range of the team’s offense: 134 points in Golden State with all five starters scoring at least 15 points, and 136 points in Sacramento with seven players scoring in double figures.
They came from 24 points down in Phoenix, where the rising Suns had just won six straight and nine of 10 with wins over Eastern Conference contenders Philadelphia and Milwaukee, closing it out with an offensive rush and a defensive stand — a 12-0 run to finish the game.
SOURCE : nba