I wrote in my preview article that the Nets needed to come out with a killer instinct after their last outing against the Detroit Pistons, and they did just that. With Brook Lopez missing another game someone had to step up and be the focal point on offense — enter Johnson.
We could sit here and talk about the history he made, but that’s not my style. The Nets have now won four of their last five games and are climbing up the Atlantic Division standings. A 9-15 record is still below .500, but considering where this team was two weeks ago there is major improvement. They ball is moving more crisply, the defense has stiffened up but most importantly the players have regained their offseason swagger.
Deron Williams is still the player that holds this team together, and the Nets will only go as far as he takes them. Lopez is one of the best big men in the league, and they are going to need him as their schedule gets tougher in the next two weeks.
The bench has continued to show improved play with the addition of Paul Pierce. Andray Blatche has continued his case for Sixth Man of the Year while the backup point guards have done an okay job filling in for Williams when he needs a break. The bench will only get stronger once they get back Andrei Kirilenko and Jason Terry, and then we will get to see what this team is really made of.
The win against the 76ers might not mean anything to people outside of the Metro area, but to Nets fans it means the team is getting closer to the vision we saw this offseason.